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Monday, January 9, 2012

Heart Outside of Your Body

I don't even know what to do with a kid who is old enough to lose teeth (as in he's lost more than one now!). I mean, surely that means he is GROWING UP. Like, a big kid. Not my little boy anymore. I don't know how to handle that.

I frequently think about that quotation that goes something like "having children is like having your heart walk around outside of your body" (I'm sure one of you knows how that actually goes, and even who said it; I'm much too tired to even care to google it). I am not immune to my kid's flaws, but in truth he is really a sweet, empathetic little being, and he gets his feelings hurt easily. It's one of the reasons I have worried so about him going to public school. At his Montessori school, they were just as worried about kids' feelings and emotional well being as their academic achievement. And, as a social worker, a therapist, a momma, I am all about that.

However, public school simply isn't set up to work that way. It's a much more cut throat kind of environment. Kids are taught to suck it up and focus on the damn test. They're expected to sit and attend for what I feel are long - and frankly age inappropriate - periods of time. The expectation is that they will engage in adult-directed activities for the vast majority of the day. They are allowed to make very few decisions about what they will be doing.

And, as I've been recently reminded by an old friend, that just isn't the way we parent; those aren't the expectations our child has grown up with to this point. We haven't trained him to sit for long periods of time by providing him with the opportunity to watch television shows (he didn't get to watch TV til after he was 3. I mean at all). He doesn't sit in front of a computer playing games. We allow him to choose what he is going to do/play at any given time. We engage in play with him when he requests it, following his lead, not forcing our own agenda. We gently suggest activities, but ultimately it's up to him. We talk about feelings. A lot. It is as important to us that he learn to be a compassionate person as anything else.

Is it any wonder public school has been a challenge for him thus far?

And yet, him growing up means that I am no longer in control over his days. The public school system doesn't care that my goal as a parent is to raise a compassionate, caring human being. They care that he can read. And count by 5's to 50. And the way it's set up to do that is by teaching all children in the same way. Which means sitting still. A lot. And we're just - ALL - going to have to get used to it.

Or find a new school. Which we're not ruling out.

Today's lesson: Childcare has been, and continues to be, one of the most difficult parts of parenting. To trust someone else to care for you child is scary. Because the chances of them doing it just like you want or would is nil. So, your heart walks around outside of your body. And you have no control over how it is treated or cared for. Hard.

3 comments:

Motleymommy

Amen! I had my own breakdown about schooling with J on Friday. Thankfully an email to and a call from the teacher reassured me that all is on the right track. To let go, to be a working mom, to trust others to help raise our little people....tough stuff. Thanks for sharing yours, I havent processed enough to share mine.

Myra

Well said. If your not happy there ARE other schools out there. You will sacrifice alot of private school or home school and neither are perfect either...but trust your gut...if THIS feels wrong than it is!

Emms

You are an amazing mama. Keep doing what you're doing and go with your gut. In the end what you do will be right for him. That's what matters. You are obviously paying close attention to his needs, and that will pay off.