More Lessons from Kindergarten
Yesterday was a bittersweet day: the last day of school. How an entire year of school has flown by so quickly is unbelievable to me! When I pick up my daughter from school, she will be a proud 1st grader.
Last August, I posted the lessons I had learned the first week of school in “What I Learned About Kindergarten.” Throughout this year, I have learned a few more things.
Cover your children with prayer.
Pray for your children daily! Pray for God to place a hedge of protection around them so that the enemy cannot attack physically, spiritually, mentally, or emotionally. Our morning routine for each of the girls includes Mommy and Child holding hands and praying aloud, whether I take them to school or the car pool is picking them up. On days we are rushed and running late (which is often!), the girls remind me: “Mommy, we have to pray!” Prayer gives kids the assurance that you love them, the confidence that they can successfully go out into the world, and the trust that God cares about their needs. It also provides reconciliation when Mommy has gotten impatient in the rush of the morning—it helps the last moment of departure to be filled with hugs, kisses, and prayers instead of angry words and hurried goodbyes.
Talk with your children—about everything.
My first child is a talker! She is filled with excitement and tells me everything—from who got in trouble that day to who moved up their clips to what the music teacher said to the funny joke someone told to practically every word her teacher said! It can be a lot of talking! Some days I love it; other days I’m distracted and have other things on my mind besides every detail of how the science experiment of making compost went. However, I’ve tried hard this year to be engaged, to make eye contact and smile as my child is talking, to respond to her stories and questions, to encourage her, and to give her a hug and say, “I love it when you tell me about your day!” There may be a day in middle or high school—or heaven forbid even sooner—where she won’t want to talk. I won’t be the first person she runs to tell. But if I start listening to her now and showing her she is important to me and that what she says matters, then perhaps we’ll always have open communication, even during those difficult preteen and teenage years.
You are not just your child’s parent.
One of the sad things about being involved in your child’s school is seeing the children who do not have parents come for special events. Seeing the children sit alone at the Mother’s Day Tea or have no one to see them in the kindergarten play breaks my heart. But I can’t judge another family’s circumstances or wonder why a parent isn’t there. But I can be someone else’s mommy for the day. I can let another child sit with me and my child during the Mother’s Day Tea. I can show interest in the others’ art work and say “That is wonderful! Great job! I’m proud of you!” I can smile and hug and encourage other children who aren’t my own. My heart—and my arms—are big enough!
Academics are not always what matter.
We had two parent-teacher conferences this year. Each time, the teacher showed us examples of MA’s work, explaining her progress in math and reading and all other areas. As parents, we are proud of her work, but we are more concerned about the person she is becoming. Is she kind to others? Is she a good friend? Is she a leader and not a follower? Does she help others? Is she considerate of others? Does she express herself appropriately? Does she communicate well? We told the teacher that we feel academics are important are most necessary to succeed; however, we are more concerned with her character. Is she following Jesus’ example and the teaching and training she’s received at home? Is she becoming the person God has created her to be? This matters more than letters and numbers.
I’m sure there are many more lessons, big and small, that I’ve learned this year; and I’m sure each year brings its own lessons and teachings as children grow and develop—and so do Mommy and Daddy.
What lessons has this past school year brought for your family?
© Christi McGuire, 2012