One of our big *fears* that we had in sending Fia to kindergarten was OUTSIDE INFLUENCES. For 5 years Fia lived in a world of Sesame Street, Dora, reading books, playing dolls, building with blocks and such. She, at times, seemed as if she was going on 30 and other times seemed to be a bit sheltered. What would happen when we sent her - our precious, innocent, untouched firstborn - into THE HARSH WORLD OF PUBLIC SCHOOL.........
We started to notice the OUTSIDE INFLUENCES almost right away. One night at dinner she asked for the bottom. The what? I would like the bottom of the bread. Oh you mean the butt? (This is a much coveted piece in our house - it has the most crust and is best fresh out of the oven - crunchy crust, chewy inside.......oh my gosh I am getting hungry RIGHT NOW. If you haven't made your own bread before IT IS SO WORTH IT) No, the bottom.
She said they didn't say *butt* in school. Oh.
Other things happened.........she started speaking directly to people when they talked. She learned all her sight words. She learned how to read. One morning she picked up a Biscuit book and read almost the whole thing by herself. I was about knocked off the couch. WHEN ON EARTH DID THAT HAPPEN AND WHY DIDN'T IT HAPPEN WHEN I WAS TEACHING HER?!? She became confident. She made friends. Kids were mean to her and she survived. She chose to play with kids at recess that had no friends. She was gossiping about a girl and had to deal with the consequences of actually feeling really horrible to the point of crying about it one night. We had to have a talk about what she could do to be kind to the girl and how talking about her or tattling was worse than what the girl was actually doing (which was wrong but none of Fia's business).
In worrying and being fearful for our precious girl we forgot why we were sending her. We missed part of the reason that we were sending her. We sent her to be a light, to shine God's love into the lives of others. We wanted to be part of a public school. We wanted her to make friends and learn. We forgot that God, at the same time, was going to use others to shine His love in HER LIFE, OUR LIVES. He was going to use her experiences to change her, grow her, to grow US. And as we all know some change, some growth is painful it's not going to always be this joy filled experience. Life isn't.
It's been good. Hard sometimes. Just the other day Fia told me she's not really friends with one of the girls that she LOVES. One of three that stuck close together at the beginning of the year. At recess she doesn't want to play with Fia and instead goes off with another girl. It made my heart hurt. I can fathom NO REASON why some girl wouldn't want to be friends with my girl :) But all I said was that this happens and it will happen again and again and again. It's just the way things go, honey. It happens to me when I am adult. I said that I was sorry she was sad but wasn't it an awesome thing that she has so many other friends to play with. Then we talked a bit about why the girl might not want to play with her at recess - she's older, she's bigger, she can do more things. Maybe Fia could try being her friend in class or at lunch when they can do things together. I figure this was a growing time for Fia. She hasn't been forced into many situations in her life when she has to deal with disappointment and it's could for her to be able to handle being hurt. I want to be the caped crusader in her life - dealing with all hurts and dangers but that's just not the way it goes.
I know the hurts and the dangers will get bigger and more complicated and just more hurtful but I am confident that the OUTSIDE INFLUENCES that we were so worried about will grow us, change us in good ways and, well, painful ways at times. Thank goodness we are not alone and as always will continue to rely on Him to guide us through the murky waters of parenting.
Oh, and then there's Nico...............can't wait to see what happens to him :) I think HE will be the outside influence :) We were telling knock knock jokes the other day while Francesca was sleeping. It went like this:
Mom: Knock, knock
Nico: Who's there?
Nico: Baby who?
Mom: Baby POOPING ON YOUR HEAD!
HUGE AMOUNTS OF LAUGHTER from both of us. I can't help myself. If you have ever seen my boy laugh it is just amazing to hear. You think you would pretty much do anything to hear it. It is unadulterated joy! But, yeah, I know....I gotta work on it before we send him off to be in public..... conferences will probably be a bit different for him.