9/15/2010

Choosing How We View the World and Our Place In It


Here, in West Texas, the heat's still on. It's fair week here, so we've had the typical showers that everyone associates with fair week (never mind that we always forget when it doesn't rain). We are, believe it or not, into the fourth week of the semester, too. Time is flying by; real world demands do just that: demand! And it feels good to be busy, to be hard at work, to watch the kids grow, gain new skills, and learn to  navigate the new situations they find themselves in. It's difficult to watch their struggles, and there are struggles, each and every day. I'm working hard to teach them, though, that the hassles that make up everyone's days do not have to set the tone for the day. A day does not have to be a "bad day" because one's hair is mussed, one's toe was stubbed, or any of the other things that can pile on. A day doesn't have to be bad for me, either, when one of my kids has a major meltdown or gets off the bus in a rough mood or argues with me about doing homework.

Our children have a problem with social learning, so we have to be very overt about how we react, why we do things the way we do, so our refusal to be brought low by the hassles and struggles we face may need to be explained in an explicit and direct fashion, but we can hassle-proof our children so that when they stumble, when they fall, they know they can get back up and keep on moving. They can learn to regulate their emotions and handle situations in more effective ways.

It is the best and most important thing we can give our children, who are often extremely sensitive, easily overwhelmed, and far too often for our own comfort, anxious: the belief, along with the requisite tools, that they determine how they feel about themselves, others, and the situations they find themselves in, and that they are competent, capable individuals who can rise to the challenges they find themselves in. It isn't enough to do affirmations; we must teach them how to surmount the challenges. Those of us who have similar issues have the advantage of understanding some of what they are experiencing and can share how we work around it, and we can be honest when the only workaround we've found is endurance.

There's a lot to be said for simply being standing at the end of the day.

2 comments:

Joeymom said...

Over our stairwell is posted the wise words of Ms. Frizzle: "Take chances. Make mistakes. Get messy." We often stop to read them together, and talk about it being OK to make mistakes (and learn from them), OK to get messy (and get clean!)... and therefore, it is OK to take chances.

Repetition is a great learning tool.

KWombles said...

Ms Frizzle was wise! My kids love the Magic School Bus.

:-)