Friday, May 11, 2012
Cultivating the Spirit of a Five Year Old
This year was the first year that I have put Gage into any long term school setting. He was 4 years old when he started pre-k in the fall and up until then he was home with me 24/7. Gage is a very friendly and social little boy. He's also as smart as can be, reading tons and tons of words at only 4 years old, knowing his address and phone number, and being able to speak, write and count quite well. I had no doubt that he would thrive, both socially and academically.
Gage adores school. He loves to learn new things, has a million friends, and is just a generally happy little boy. He is able to breeze through his school work with time to spare, and often uses that time to try and help his friends with their work. He's excited about learning, and likes to share that excitement with those around him.
Unfortunately, Gage gets in trouble a lot in school. And when I say a lot I mean almost every single day. In fact there has only been a handful of days where he has came home from school without a negative note. And to date he has never ever received a kind note or a word of encouragement. (He has a daily behavior chart that gets sent home with him daily that records the teachers remarks)
I'm not saying that my kid is a perfect little boy, because he's not. At times in school he's up and out of his seat when he shouldn't be. And sometimes he doesn't raise his hand when he answers a question. And when the class has 20 minutes to do a worksheet that he can do in 5 he gets bored and fidgets.
Because of that love for learning that Gage has, and maybe a bit of my own personal desire to give him the best head start that he could possibly get, I kept him in his school, hoping and praying that he would soon begin to thrive behaviorally.
But he is a little boy, only 5 years old. And rather than break his spirit day in and day out by pegging him as the "bad kid" I want my son to be consistently encouraged and taught life skills in a positive environment. I'm him mom, it's my duty to advocate for him.
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Ephesians 4:29
I often wonder why the expectations that kids in his age group have to meet are so high when they are still so little. They should be learning, playing, exploring, and using their imaginations. They should know that they are loved unconditionally. They should be shown examples of kindness and devoted leadership. They should feel safe at school. They should be encouraged to per sue their interests in a productive way. They should be shown that the world around them is absolutely magical.
Today, after yet another round of discouragement from his teacher, I withdrew Gage from pre-k. He'll have a fresh start next Fall with a new teacher in Kindergarten. But for now I'm stepping in and trying to undo the damage that was already done to his spirit. Because my son is not bad. He is not a troublemaker. He is not disrespectful. And his is not any other label. He is Gage and he is amazing. We are all amazing. And we should be told that every single day. And I plan to do just that.
So in case you haven't heard it yet today:
YOU ARE AMAZING