Do you know the Adele song Turning Tables? I love that song. It speaks to me about some relationships and friendships I have had in my life. But I think for me what makes it sad is that I see it in some relationships my son has encountered this year. I feel bad for him. He has such a big heart and he wants to be friends with every one! This year other children have told him they hate him, they have said they don’t like him, they have told him he is stupid and they have made him feel bad about himself. It breaks my heart that he has faced these things. It all came to a head about a month ago when he started saying some things of a similar nature to other kids in his class. We had a big talk about why he said those things, where he heard them. It was one of the hardest talks I have had to have with him. How do you teach your child to protect their heart when their heart is so large and open? I don’t want him to close himself off. I want him to be the loving funny little boy I know! I love that he lets his little sister tag along when he goes to play with the neighborhood kids. I love that he wants to be friends with everyone. I hope he keeps that heart, but I need to teach him that not everyone is as wonderful as he is or knows how to be kind. Its such a tough thing for young children and I am always surprised at young it starts.
BK has also encountered some of the interpersonal drama of friendship this year. But in her case she seems to take it more in stride. She was adamant about who she would or would not invite to her birthday party from school because of it. The funny thing is a few months later it all worked out and now the girls who she could not stand are some of her best friends. I expected the drama early with her, she is full of drama herself and you expect this kind of interplay between girls. I also think its been a lot more superficial with BK. She has not internalized it the way TD has. It makes me wonder what kind of heart JK has, what kind of friend will she be?
In preschool and in Kindergarten I have found the teachers say things like “everyone is friends with everyone” or “we all have to be nice to one another”. Unfortunately this does not play out on the playground or the school bus where adults are not there to listen to every conversation. I know I can’t shelter my children forever but it is tempting some times.
So the question of the week is how do you inspire a child to write? TD has had an amazing year so far in Kindergarten. He has far exceeded my expectations in a lot of ways. His diagnosis with ADHD this winter came as no suprise to us. He has always been very active and has been becoming more and more impulsive over the last 3 years. His teachers have done an amazing job helping him and we started a non-stimulant medication to help him. His classroom teacher sees an amazing amount of improvement in his behavior as do we. But one area that he is really not enjoying in school and therefore struggling a bit with is writing. He doesn’t like to write, he does not see the point in it. He thinks it’s a lot of work. And I get that. I happen to have a writing based learning disability called Dysgraphia. I struggled a lot with writing as a child and did not really find a writing voice of my own til high school; at first in poetry and eventually in other forms once I learned to type. So I get that TD is not wild about the writing, but it’s still important. He and I have been brainstorming some new ideas on ways to practice his writing. Our latest discussion was about letter writing. Until this discussion I had not really thought about the impact of technology on the lives of the kids really. I knew that they would see the world very differently because so much is automated, and so much happens inside these magic little boxes, but I had not really processed it. So we were talking about letter writing and TD says “so its like e-mail” and I explained that yes it was like email but people would sit down and write them out by hand and mail them and the mail carrier would take them to the post office and they would go on a truck or a plane to get to the city where they were going and onto another mail truck where another mail carrier would deliver them. “but that takes a LONG time, why can’t I just call Nonna?” Well some people think it’s really special to write letters TD, so if you write to Nonna, or Gra-Gra, or Pop-Pop or Granny I am sure they would write back to you! “But we could just call them, or you could e-mail them for me and they could write me back TODAY” Don’t you like to get a letter or a birthday card in the mail? “Yea its ok” So then lets write a letter to one of your grandparents you could write and tell Granny all about school! And it went on from there. Needless to say no letters were written out of this. I am still working on him. I now understand why people say the US Mail service is going to go away. Yikes!
I am still trying to figure out how to inspire my son to want to write. I am planning some activities for over the summer and now know that at least once a week we need a writing project to keep him in practice. It makes me wonder though when kids do catch the writing bug. I remember when my brother was about 10 or 11 he saw an old desk chair out for trash pick up and brought it home, I think he also may have snagged a type writer from another trash pile. He told my mom he was going to be a writer when he grew up. I know he did a lot more creative writing than I did as a kid. He still loves books and movies and went to school for film editing. He has a very creative mind. I wonder if he ever thinks back about that ambition to be a writer? I wonder what sparked that in him? How did he get the writing bug? It happened late for me and I want the writing bug to hit my son young. There are so many wonderful things about writing. You can share your inner thoughts and feelings with others, while still hiding behind your pen or keyboard. You can put down your thoughts and feelings on something and go back and re-live them later. You can share all your creative ideas even when no one has time to listen to them! TD has so many thoughts and ideas in his head, he talks a mile a minute and is such a funny guy! I think if I could just help him open up his writing voice and give him a place to put all that creative energy it would be really good for him. So I come back to the question, how do you inspire a child to write? This may be a returning topic for me. Hopefully if I am successful I will have some things to share with you from TD in the coming weeks and months.