Much to the dismay of an ultra-committed-public-school-teacher-who-LOVES-her-job, my little girl does not (like school that is).
She does not like getting her hair brushed.
She does not like matching.
She does not like school.
Thankfully she does not overly-struggle academically, so even though this dislike saddens me, it does not alarm me.
I’m learning from it actually.
I can barely talk about it, as it brings me to tears. I detest having to send her to a place, for 8 hours, that makes her unhappy, yet I know as her mama, it’s what I have to do. I know it’s good for her to work through her struggles. I know it’s good for her to be with kids her own age. I know it’s good for her to learn to be flexible. But she’s a kid and she’s my kid and I’d much rather see her happy.
And so we learn together, how to push through, even when we don’t like something.
We learn to keep things in our brain that we really want to say aloud, we learn to take the higher road, we learn kindness will eventually win even if it’s not today. We learn that you need to make eye contact and get off gadgets. You need to really listen to get to the bottom of each individual’s motivators, we learn that kids are just sometimes mean and that’s a bummer. We learn that right is not always popular and popular is not usually right.
My daughter, not liking school, has however, enriched my life more than she’ll know (as much as it’s made me bonkers)!
Even more than ever now, I scour pamphlets, the internet, community ed, posters, and signs for unique opportunities to do out in the world. I listen to her more when she gives me reasons why she doesn’t like something, and it’s usually pretty decent. And I have learned to keep my heart open to value the things she does like, even though the rest of the world may or may not. I’ve learned to walk a fine line of not pushing, just nudging, but that no is an ok answer too.
She’s teaching me that to slow down, to not compete, to play, to not be over-committed, to be flexible, to try lots and lots of new things, to go to lots and lots of new places, to meet lots and lots of people, is a pretty great way to live.
Essentially it boils down to: she doesn’t like being bossed around.
Now that’s some pretty great meta cognition.
And when i could hear that enough to stop bossing her, I have a happy little girl. Even though she may not like school, she likes the rest of her life. She chooses what she does after school, she makes lots of play dates, she tries out lots of individual classes, she even goes back to the ones she likes to get better. She reads more in my lap, we patiently do puzzles more, we play the stacks and stacks of board games we have accumulated. It’s amazing, when I really attend, the difference between a fake happy daughter because she’s too busy (with happy good things like dance, and gymnastics, and soccer) to really be happy kind of kid.
She’s committed to being sincerely happy and I couldn’t sincerely be happier. Had I only known that when I was 7…….wow.
She truly is living the now infamous quote that may or may not be John Lennon’s:
When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down, “happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.
But I get it, and I get her. And now, I get so many many more of my students. Montana’s dislike of school, ironically, has been so many other’s key to liking school. I listen more carefully. I’m more purposeful with my requests, more flexible with my dates, louder with my laughter because I’ve really taken the time to hear their stories, and they can be really funny. I get to know the kids better and thus do what I can to create a more rich soiled garden, for which they can all bloom in their own way and in their own time.
And so, my daughter, the daughter of a teacher, doesn’t like school. The best lesson ever.