With all the scary situations that have gone on in the world since Kole was born, it has brought my stress level to its highest. I have never been brought back to the calm side of the spectrum ever since I became a mother. I have considered homeschooling him and keeping him away from all people. I have considered watching his every step to make sure he never comes in close contact with a bully. But life doesn’t work that way. I can only trust in the way I raise him and have faith on how he follows through.
Ever since he started school, three years ago, I have said the same things to him during drop off and pick up. When I drop him off I always say “Be good, be kind, and learn a lot.” Every day.
I remind him to be good. Teachers work hard everyday with 20-30 of our rowdy children. As parents, reasons we often complain about our children is how they don’t listen and don’t follow through, just to name a few. And we only have to deal with 1-5 kids on average. We know the struggle and to put all these kids with all different personalities together can be stressful and tough for an underpaid teacher with whom we have entrusted with our most precious treasures for 6-8 hours a day.
I remind him to be kind. Children are sensitive and remember everything. We all know mistreatment from their peers can stick with them for a lifetime and cause uneccessary violent action. As adults in this world today we are surprised by kindness. Videos about kindness go viral like it’s a foreign action. That says a lot about the world today and it’s not a good thing. I want him to grow up knowing kindness should be normal, given and received. To everyone. From everyone.
And lastly, I remind him to learn a lot. I want him to be open to learning everything and anything. I want him to be engaged so he is always interested on learning both sides of a coin. Ask questions. Be open to the answers even if he doesn’t like them. Not only listen but to understand.
And on to our conversations when I pick him up.
I always ask..
“How was your day?”
“What did you learn today?”
“What did you do and who did you play with during recess?”
“What was your favorite thing about the day?”
“What was your least favorite?”
I know that seems like a lot but it gives me all the information I need and I get him used to knowing that, as a parent, asking him a bunch of questions are not for interrogation. It’s for conversation. To always remind him I want to know about and keep up with his life, not because I don’t trust him but because I’m truly interested. Wanting to know how his day went and what he learned are a given. But it’s important for me to know what happens during recess when the kids are left to socialize with each other on a more independent level. I want to know if the list of people he plays with change, if the list has downsized, or if it has increased. What kind of games they play and if who is in charge of these games are the same person/people or if that role changes from time to time. Hearing about his least favorite parts of the day help me figure out what makes him sad, uncomfortable, or upset so I am able to catch anything he may not express to me directly. Knowing his favorite parts help me remember the things that bring him joy.
If I can’t protect him from all the bad in the world I can only hope I am helping raise good to at least be able to spread a little bit of light in all this darkness. Let’s face it, our world is shit. I want his tomorrows to be brighter than our todays. We just have to make sure we show the love and keep the conversation up and running.