Thursday, September 19, 2013

Get Out of the Way

"Every tomorrow has two handles.  
We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety 
or the handle of faith."  
--Henry Ward Beecher

I've been noticing something.
Kids are anxious.
They have anxiety.
They stress out.
They freak out.
They get overwhelmed and they shut down.

For me, it seems like it's going on a lot more than it used to.

Today was the topper.
I've heard of kids being anxious...but I sat with a student teacher as she went through her class and she revealed that four of her students struggled with anxiety...and they were in elementary school!

Four in a class of thirty.

What's going on in our world??

These kids aren't hungry or homeless.
Their basic needs are met.
They have involved parents...maybe even a bit too involved.
Maybe that's the problem.

The hovering has got to stop.
Some parents actually come to school every day and eat lunch with their child.
They lurk around at recess.
I'm sorry but that would give me anxiety and I'm an adult.

Our world is so upside down that the school hasn't stopped that madness.
The classroom teacher hasn't called an intervention a meeting and clarified the problem.
The parents keep eating lunch...and if they're eating lunch at school with their kids I don't want to think about what it's like to be at home together.

Suffocating is the word that comes to mind.

Let's chat about the message you send your kid every day you show up to school to eat lunch with him:
You can't do this without me.
You need me.
I'm crucial to your happiness.
I don't believe you can navigate this big, bad world on your own.

It's just a little too close to the mean mom in Rapunzel for my liking.

Why do we have this level of hovering??
Because the parents have lost their faith in our world.
Because of the horrendous living nightmare of 20 tiny first graders dying in their school in 
Newtown, Connecticut.
Because of 9/11 and creepy bad things that happen in our world every day.

I get it.

Bad stuff goes down to kids on a regular basis.

But guess what???
A whole lot of good stuff goes down too.
And my gut tells me it's WAY more than the bad.

We have lunch ladies, crossing guards, bus drivers, school secretaries, guitar playing music teachers, ball bouncing PE teachers, school janitors, principals, teachers and teachers aides and after school specialists just waiting to do their part.
And they DO their part.
Every single day.

Schools are safe.
Schools care.
Schools are a real place that your child can learn to maneuver and ask questions and be curious and test the waters and grow in independence every day.

But we have to let them.

We have to tell our kids by our actions that we know they can do it.
We have to give them a chance to fail.
And point out the rising sun and and the world still spinning when the failure happens.
It's ok.

They need to know they are ok on their own.
They need to have a little faith and see it all work out.
Over and over.

School's the place where that happens.
So...can you parents just take a deep breath and get out of the way??

You are literally making your kids sick.
You are disabling them.
Besides, you are just sucking the fun out of the whole thing.
And you don't want to be a fun-sucker, do you??

Tonight I'm grateful for the safety net of schools.  
I'm grateful for the many, many good people who make a school run smoothly.
I'm grateful for the welcoming smile, the hot lunches, the predictability of schedules and the comfort of belonging that comes with being in a school. 

Let's grab the handle of faith and let tomorrow shine.

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