Max's First Day of Kindergarden:  A little nervous

Max’s First Day of Kindergarden: A little nervous

This was the photo I took of Max right before we headed out to school on Monday.  Like kindergardeners all across America on Day 1, Max was a nervous wreck in this photo.  He knew he would be OK but he had spent the weekend worrying about everything that could go wrong.  We would be driving along in the car and suddenly out of nowhere a question would pop up:  “Mom…What if I am sitting at a table and it is quiet reading period and we are not allowed to talk or even raise our hand. And I am sitting next to a bully.  And he keeps hitting me whenever the teacher isn’t looking?  What am I  going to do then?” 

Each time I tried to help him develop strategies to face his fears he seemed to get more and more frustrated.  It was clear he just wanted to be heard.  I saw how clearly torn up inside he was and I very much wanted to distract him, make him laugh, make him forget, tell him all the stories he heard about kindergarden weren’t true that it was the land of milk and honey.  But I didn’t.  Instead I hugged him and told him that it was OK to be scared.  It made no sense to try and talk him out of his nervousness.  Most people are scared before setting out on a big adventure and nothing spells adventure like K-I-N-D-E-R-G-A-R-D-E-N.  

It is a challenge sometimes for me to remember that it is not my job to fix Max’s feelings.  When he is scared I do not need to make him not scared.  When he is angry or sad it is not up to me to make him happy again.  I can offer support, listen and help him process what he is feeling.  Its not up to me to rush in with solutions but it is my job to hold the space so he can search for his own solutions.  If he wants my advice I  give it.  I will wait patiently and wait for my in.  It always comes eventually.  But damn that is hard…and I frequently screw it up.

When Max came home on Monday, he was full of excitement and joy.  He faced a big fear and survived and that is a victory.  He felt so good about himself because it WAS scary but he DID do it.  For all my desires to kiss away his hurts on Sunday and tell him there was nothing to fear I was thrilled I didn’t because to do so would have been to minimize his triumph.  I am so proud of him but more importantly he is so proud of himself.

One Response to “First Day of Kindergarden”

  1. Jena Strong Says:

    Oy, is he cute.