As a mother, I take pride in being heavily involved in my son’s education. He is in the second grade, and over the years (including pre-school), I have known the names of every child in his class.
This knowledge allows me to tap into his academic and social life by specifically asking about each of his classmates. Every day after school, we talk about his day, who he played with at recess, and what he discussed at the lunch table.
It became like clockwork……using pseudonyms….
How was Jamie doing today?
Was Derrick nice today?
Did Mike get in trouble for that?
I would go down the list and ask about each of them. It was manageable because he came from a very small class setting. Still, this process gave me insight on the children he influenced, those who influenced him, the bullies, his best friends, and even the high achieving students.
And yes, I got on his nerve.
In addition, I have always held a close relationship with the parents of his classmates.
We transferred to a new school.
The great news is that he is doing an excellent job in his new learning environment. My problem was that I had no clue who was who and I didn’t like that. As he fosters new friendships, I work to learn names all over again.
Thanks to Valentines Day next week, the students were assigned the task of writing down all of their classmates names so that no child is left out when goodies are passed around.
Yes! I finally got my class list. All 21 of them.
I’ll admit, I may be a little overbearing. But I don’t care. The more I learn about my son’s social interactions at school, the more I understand him.
So far, there is a young lady that has his little 8-year-old attention. She has long hair (rolling my eyes) and apparently long legs (again, rolling my eyes). She laughs at his jokes and that makes him feel good about himself. Transferring schools mid-year can be rough, but apparently this little lady makes it all worth it.
The point is, there are a lot of kids out there who have busy parents, with several children to care for, and they are not able to give them the third degree on who played with who today.
However, I think it is important to spend as much time as we can asking about our kids day. Too often we get caught up in the stress that we deal with on our jobs and even at home. And the only thing we can focus on is getting the kids fed, complete homework, and go to bed, just to hit repeat the next day.
But we have to find time to talk to them about what’s going on in their lives. Find something that works for you. There are plenty of times my cell phone goes unanswered because I need to give that time to my child.
If you have an extended commute home, talk in the car. That’s how my mom got stuff out of me. I was trapped and had no where to go. Maybe if you work the evening shift, it’s a simple call home on your break, or perhaps while you prepare a quick dinner.
Just simply ask “how was your day?”.
You never know what they will share. The new rule in my house is that our son has to be able to articulate exactly what he learned at school each day. When I ask what did you learn?, I better get an answer.
I’m still learning too. But I believe we have the power to break a lot of cycles. The old saying children are to be seen not heard should be left in the graves of some of our elders. I can honestly say my parents didn’t believe in that, and neither do I.
I’ll continue to work through this list of 21 kids and get the tea on each of them.
Meanwhile, I’m paying attention to how he responds to how was you day?……It may reveal exactly what I need to know.
Dr. Lauren Meeks