Sunday, October 25, 2015

Day 25: When I find myself settling in...

    I've been so taken aback by how difficult this series has been to write and to explain to others from the outside looking in.  I have struggled to understand if maybe I came across differently that I intended while writing or if I included too many details of others instead of focusing on myself.  I tried to evaluate my own difficulty in the transition to Kindergarten for my son, as opposed to his own specifically.  I tried to contrast my own experiences in teaching against what I was experiences, and I sought to find a root for my frustrations by evaluating my expectations going into these elementary school years.

     I am so thankful to report that I am settling into this new role as 'parent of an elementary school child' versus my previous & comfortable role as 'preschool parent'.  I have struggled (and I'm sure will continue to struggle) with not being in control & with trusting the school teachers and administrators decisions for my son.  I did not anticipate how helpless I would feel on some levels to the decisions of teachers at the school, and how I would long to find a way to gain a voice on his behalf.  After walking through the early months, I now see the danger of becoming the belligerent parent as a tendency of my personality, and I do not desire to become one.  I am so thankful for the chance to walk through bit-by-bit as I would with a trusted friend, what has bothered me & whether or not it really should.

     After seeing the negativity and ultimately the painful struggle clearly in my writing, I knew I could answer my own questions from earlier this month.  Although my feelings were valid, I was dealing with the transitional 'speed bumps' & I can now see that I was reacting by holding on tighter & fighting for control.  I cannot promise that I won't struggle with this tendency to hold on too tight when things seem out of my control to fix, but I can recognize it.

     When I was teaching, I reacted in some of the same ways.  My first year of teaching I held on too tightly; I reacted strongly & harshly sometimes in situations that may have called for a gentler touch. I had a sweet former student remind me of a time when I sent her & another out for 'name calling' one of their classmates.  They were seniors in high school, very smart, not serious in their attack against their friend, but rather testing me.  That group tested me many times that year, and sometimes I failed.  I asserted my authority, but I didn't win the fight.  I don't think that strategy is ultimately effective, and I know they saw it as weakness.

     After I gained confidence from my first year, I was able to settle in.  I was able to diffuse situations that would have ended in power struggle, and I was able to feel more rooted in my own ability to do a good job.  Knowing that I could do it & feeling what I had to give the students was valuable was the most powerful tool I had.  It empowered me in my classroom authority, and it propelled me through most classroom situations & conferences.

    I know I can apply the same principles as a parent.  I can settle in & become confident in my role as a parent, the advocate for my sons.  I can find the place of balance between the belligerent mother who hounds the school & the one who doesn't ever have a conference.  I can learn through this first year how the school works, what reasonable expectations are, and how I can successfully help my sons.  I am so glad to think of it that way, it's my first year as a parent of an elementary schooler.  

     I would love to share more wonderful stories from when I was a teacher, because there were many.  But I feel as though this series has already wrapped itself up.  My 4th pregnancy has been challenging, and I'm sure the hormones have made my emotional reactions more pronounced.  I'm so happy to call this work 'finished' although it is not 31 days long.  I hope it has been or can be helpful to others, and I am thankful to the Lord for walking me through.


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