Friday, October 12, 2012

Back-to-School Jitters

Each one of my children is so different.

Where one might love the spotlight, another would rather die than have attention on him/her; where one might be super good at math, another can't add two plus two; where one is responsible, another might need more consistent direction. I used to hate this little fact, wondering why God couldn't just send similar kids to the same family. That way, if the parents happened to figure out how to relate to one child, they could simply follow the same routine for the others. But, of course God is much more wise than that.

He knew we parents had way too much to learn from these different little personalities that enter our homes. And truthfully, I've grown to appreciate the differences in my children and love them for them.

One personality that has been a bit of a stretch for me to relate to is my sweet little seven-year-old. Regyn is a bundle of helpfulness, sweetness, and type A personality all rolled into one. She is also very sensitive (especially if her 10-year-old brother says anything to her at all, and I mean anything), a bit bossy, and man alive, she knows how to put people in their place if necessary. I'd like to say she developed some of these weaknesses from her dear old dad, but I'm afraid they are all a bit too familiar to me for me to pass the buck on these puppies. I too tend to be bossy, sensitive and . . .well, let's just focus on Regyn for a moment.

Who couldn't love this little charmer?
Every school year since kindergarten Regyn has struggled for the first few weeks. It shocks me, honestly, but I can expect a phone call from her at school regularly for the first couple of weeks, complaining of one ailment or another. This year she got really creative one day and told me she had an itchy eye and couldn't possibly be expected to focus on her school work with her eye itching. When I talked with her teacher, she told me her eye looked fine, of course.Ugh! How do I handle this situation?

The crazy thing about it all is that Regyn is a very good student, and she's as friendly and outgoing as ever. She spends hours at home playing "school" because she loves it so much, so it's such a mystery to me to know why she suddenly becomes extremely insecure at the beginning of each new school year, but it causes me so much turmoil. I mean, I don't want to be insensitive to her fears. I want her to know how very much I love her and care about her. I want to be empathetic. At the same time, I know she's physically fine, and I don't want to start habits that could be very detrimental in the long run. I want her to learn to push through uncomfortable situations and do hard things. It's a tough balance.

So, a couple of weeks ago when she was complaining about going to school, an idea came to mind. I told her I wanted her to notice every good thing that happened to her throughout the day and write it on a piece of paper--when the teacher praised her, when someone asked her to play, when she answered a question correctly, when someone smiled at her--everything! Her response? "Mom, people smile at me all the time; it's no big deal."

My response? "Fabulous! Then you're going to have a great day, aren't you?" Sensing her lack of enthusiasm over this idea, I pushed it aside, thinking it would never actually happen. But, thankfully, I was wrong. Regyn came home from school that day and shoved a piece of paper in my hands.

the front

the back
In case you can't read it, it says (in original spelling), "Dear Mom, I love you. What was happy about my day was thet Alli came and thet I came home and thet I got to vollinteer and the teacher said something nice." I absolutely love the picture on the back! It's so simple but it just reaches into the corners of my heart and makes me smile.

Anyway, I was shocked she'd actually completed the assignment. What has shocked me even more is that she hasn't called me from school a single time since! Whether it really has anything to do with the this little project or not, I can't say, but I'm so thrilled she's doing better. And I've decided next year, if this little scenario creeps up again, I'm trying this little exercise first!

And even if I have to help her through this little problem every year until she graduates from college, I just have to say, she's totally worth it!