09/04/2020 Commiserating with my child’s teacher By Pastor Katie

“He’s so verbal” was the first remark my son’s new teacher said when she introduced herself.

“Yes, he is very social,” was all I could respond without going into detail about how knows all of the neighbors because he strikes up conversations with them on their daily walks or about how he tries to befriend people on our walks while we remind him to stay six feet apart.

   Verbal? Yes.
   Social? Definitely.
   Extrovert? Without a doubt.

The next week I called to check in and his teacher said she was just about to call me to give an update.

   “He is so independent,” she started…

My inner monologue raced, do I play dumb? Do I act surprised? Also, I am in no way surprised.

My momentary pause gave her time to go on.

   “I don’t see it as defiance,” she continued—Thank goodness, said my inner monologue—“he likes to do his own   
   thing; he is a free spirit.”

Free spirit? Yes, that is one word for it and I am glad his teacher doesn’t want to crush that spirit.

   I had to commiserate that at home he is independent and verbose so you know exactly what he is thinking, and he  
   tells us when he doesn’t want to do whatever we’re doing, which is often.

Someone just asked how old my little guy is and when I said three they said, “great, so you’re out of the terrible twos.”

   Two was its own breed; it was the beginning of independence, growing communication, which led to challenges and
   joys of its own.

In the parenting world, we have the “terrible twos” and then we have “three-nagers.” They are three going on thirteen, the teenage sass and independence has started young. Experts remind us that this is, in fact, developmentally appropriate. Growing autonomy and independence is natural, healthy, and to be encouraged.

   I digress, back to the commiseration with my child’s teacher.

I was just talking to a friend of mine, mother of two, “he is definitely a leader and outspoken,” I said, “it might be the death of me as a parent but it is a great skill for him to have in the long run.”

   His teacher responded, “It is great for him to be a leader, and I also want him to learn to follow me.” Welcome to 
   the club, I thought. 

She continued, “I want them to run the board meetings, but I don’t want them to get in a fight with their boss.”

   Amen! … and yes, I want him to run the board meetings or whatever he wants to do, I want him to lead others with
   his strength, determination, boundless inclusivity and kind heart.

   All of these things will come as he finds his way, and it is my privilege to love him through it all.

Each day at drop off, we remind him he is loved, he is smart, he is brave, he is kind, he is a good listener, he can follow directions, he is a good friend, and so on.

   We start his day with affirmations; planting seeds we hope will flourish as we nurture him and watch him grow into
   who he will become.

The school director shared at pick up one afternoon that she had entered the classroom to see what to bring for snack, so she asked the teacher “What do you want for snack?”

   His teacher paused and in that pause, Ben stood up and said, “I’m Big Ben and I want Goldfish please.” I’ve literally
   heard that school was great because he got to have Goldfish for snack.

The director said since no one else was making decisions she went with his! They also loved that he was introducing himself as “Big Ben.”

   [Side note, when he was little the family called him “Baby Ben” now that he isn’t a baby he insists that we call him
   “Big Ben” and promptly introduces himself to new people as “Big Ben.” I am hoping he grows out of that or doesn’t 
   because it’s adorable.]

His independence and leadership will serve him well in the long run. For now, I’ll call him my three-nager.

   Ben is three. Three is confident, verbose, sprightly silliness, filled with wonder and questioning, and with a growing
   independence, an endless reserve of love and forgiveness, and an incredible sweetness.

Three demands I pay attention to this moment, to embrace it for all that it is and allow it to be so many things at once. Three tells me the time is flying, even when the world stops, and to be present in this moment.

Pastor Katie

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