Mommy, Where Does Writing Come From?
TODAY’S BREW: Vanilla something or other
My Child has started Kindergarten this past week. I didn’t freak out until he actually was in class and giving me feedback. Immediately, I start wondering if this school is just too dumb for him. To be blunt. While Kindergarten was originally just a plan to get hyperactive 5year olds out of the house whenever God created it, now it is known that this is the age where a love of school, learning and community is either fostered or broken. Operation Helicopter Mom is in full effect.
I love school. I love school supplies, I love the time of year, I love learning. My child is similar to me already. As a kid, I was constantly playing school, complete with my own grade book, but when I think back to when this love of school actually came about, it wasn’t until 5th grade. (Oddly enough, this is also when I began to become socially awkward. Coincidence?) That was the year that one of the best teachers ever, Mr. Waterhouse, gave us the assignment of writing a book. I remember this story well, because even though it was 26 years ago, I obsessed over making that thing perfect like i obsess over Running Home and everything related to it. It was about an expedition, Lewis and Clark style, and there were wolves as pets, and the cover was flawless. I remember crumpling up dozens of pieces of little white school paper if the words didn’t look absolutely stunning on the page. It wasn’t lost on the glorious Mr. Waterhouse, who told my parents that I was gifted in the area. It is the one thing I remember from elementary school that a teacher said. That vote of actual confidence, not a pat on the back for coloring in the lines, sticks with me even still.
I wish that I felt this way from Kindergarten on, but that wasn’t the case. I didn’t have a bad time at school, but I tend to remember the time I got in trouble for not going outside with all of the other kids, and they thought I was lost. Or the time they wanted to keep me back because they didn’t think I could skip. I definitely remember when the school nurse, the awful principal, and both teachers were crowded around me, flashing crayons at me, wondering if I was color blind because I colored a fish green when they instructed the fish to be blue. I was just at the stage where all fish were green. (To this day when I think of a fish, I think of it as green.) I do recall Mrs. Freyermuth complimenting me on a drawing of a kid on a swing. She thought I drew it in 3D, and said she had never seen a child do that before. I just thanked her, but had not drawn it in 3D, I just drew it. All in all, I felt a little misguided from the start, when I look back on it.
Thanks to my 5th grade teacher, I found my spot in life, and it never left me. I found the thing that I could do well, no matter if I knew how to skip or not. Maybe before that I wasn’t enough of a real person yet to truly determine what I needed. Maybe in Kindergarten, all that needed to happen is exactly what happened.
And maybe if I had been sent to the world’s best school, the same results would have occurred.
The moral of the story is, my Kindergartener is strong enough to forge his own way without us doing it for him. What he needs from the adults in his life is guidance and support, and involvement. He will learn his way just like I did. And I didn’t always want hovering grownups to help me. Sometimes, kids just want to be kids, and they learn to challenge themselves. And when my boy realizes he’s good at everything, I want him to know we were there to help, not tell him he fit into the box that we created.
Now I have to go research programs for gifted 5 year olds.