It’s all fun and games the first week, isn’t it. But then it dawns on everyone, from oldest to youngest, that O Sweet Summer you are gone, and homework and desks and calendars (they call them agendas) and also, smelly lunch rooms and loud bus rides–those are here to stay.
This Sunday one of my children allowed every Redskins play to be his personal emotional outlet. There was much crying over the bad plays, the missed opportunities. There was punching of pillows and stomping of stairs. And tears. And yelling. And did I mention the punching? Now, I know that Dave and I can’t help but spawn uber-intense children. I feel sorry for their inner worlds, I cannot imagine how fast their minds are moving. If any of them got Dave’s analytical mind combined with my intense emotional passion about everything wrong with everything, well, we’ve saddled them with years of therapy fodder.
So I turn to my hubs, who is also a rabid fan (I don’t do rabid fan. I am passionate about so many things, my spirit just does not have room to be passionate about sports). I ask him, “is this normal?” And he, the one who cannot watch his team actually play sometimes, he gets so nervous–that man told me that it wasn’t normal.
So I waited a bit and then I went up and I tried to do my best to have a conversation with this child, who is rapidly becoming a young man, who is wonderful and wearying and complex, and I ventured in.
I’m not happy, he says.
I hate school, he says.
I can’t keep up. I don’t like the assignments. I’m terrible. And the tears come and I try my best to soothe without smothering.
Meanwhile, in my head I am already planning a rapid exit from school, a homeschool plan, or perhaps a sweet little Christian school run out of the back of a church somewhere…or better yet, we’ll just move! We’ll start over! We’ll start using the unschool method! I’ll grow vegetables and make bread and all will be right with my child! And my mind goes fast and intense about how I can solve this problem because this is my baby and all should go well for him.
Luckily, I didn’t actually say that. (Thank you counseling degree) I just let him talk.
And then I took stock. I prayed the prayer of every parent: HELP.
I picked a few words for him, careful to avoid Christian-y answers that wouldn’t be helpful if I was the one crying. I told him that in the book of Acts, it says that God chooses the times and places where we are to live. Which means his school. His classroom. Even his desk. I said that sometimes the thing we are learning in school isn’t actually the thing we are learning.
I told him that he could look for ways God might use him in his class.
And then I asked him if I could pray for him, and I put my hand on his still-little shoulder, and I prayed that God would be near to him, because God is near the broken-hearted.
I don’t want him to be broken-hearted. But I want him to grow.
So I will store this little moment up in my heart, and I will keep my chin up and keep his chin up. And I will wait, six weeks. I will stay the course, but when six weeks come, if he’s still hating it, I will be that mom. I will explore options. I will speak up. I will advocate. But he doesn’t need to know that now. For now, he needs a hand on his shoulder, a soft-whispered prayer, and maybe some cookies when he comes home.
And that’s enough for now.