Sunday, August 16, 2015

Showing Compassion on the First Day of School

Kids are headed back to school. First day of school pictures are plastered all over Facebook and everyone looks so cute. It's fun to see my friends children grow each year. My oldest is headed back to preschool this year for the four year old class and he is so excited. Three half days seems to be about perfect for him (and me) right now.

This week, I was talking to someone whose little one was off to 1st grade this year. She was mocking the Kindergarten parents for the tears and the emotion as they sent their babies into a big new school on a new adventure. She was talking about how "the first grade parents were laughing and rolling our eyes". She talked about a first grader who was crying about leaving her dad to go into the school building on the first day and that this child was "too old for this" behavior.

I don't know. I guess because I haven't sent my babies to Kindergarten I may not be qualified to say. I just think it is OK to be in the moment, both for kids and parents, at any grade. First graders are just 5 or 6 years old. If the child has been home with a parent on a babysitter they really love, it can be overwhelming to go back to school. There might be something at school that they remember from last year that scares them, or it might be hard, or they might just be nervous about something new.

Here is the thing, parents of Kindergartners have always had big emotions around the first day of school including trepidation, anxiety, excitement, love, hope, joy, sadness.

 It is always OK for you to feel your emotions. 
Experience them fully, this is what living is supposed to be. 

What I would then hope, is that each one of us shows some compassion for these parents and kids while they work through these feelings and big life events without mocking or bullying, or making them feel less than. Yes, when you can see it from the other side, it seems so much more manageable, maybe even less important. Maybe you weren't a parent who cried on the first day of school and sat in the parking lot for an hour. Maybe your child turned and waved goodbye and skipped through the front door with confidence. Maybe you had to pry your sweet baby off your leg and guiltily race to the car so they could get their day started. Each of these situations is personality, family, and situation dependent but the similarity is that everyone had a first day experience. No two were alike. No two family situations are the same and most importantly no two parents or children are the same.
So cherish your experience as your own with your child. Cry, hug, smile, act brave... whatever you feel like doing and do it with Love, deep love. And don't worry what the first grade parents think, they were just there a year ago.

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