Oh how quickly we forget the corrections we lived through as children.  This past year of school my son would come home and have sub-par day(s), leaving my insides screaming about “why.”  What I want to say is, “Why can’t you sit still in school like your sister?” or “What is so difficult about remembering to return your library book?”  or “Why can’t you take a moment and focus on your handwriting as hard as you do strategizing how to win that board game?”  … but I don’t.  I don’t need to add years of therapy to his already expensive bill ahead of him for what we’re already going to mess up.

When my mind does go there I have to remind myself of a few things…

  • All the times I got scared into behaving by my Kindergarten teacher (and that nun would twist pinch the back of our arms in less than a second if we didn’t shape up quickly!)
  • All the times I had to sit in the hall to regain my composure (calm down, quit talking, stay in my seat) or punishment when I went too far… all through grade school
  • All the check marks Sr. Mary Walters gave me in 2nd grade.  Daily.
  • The shaming I experienced in 4th grade when I would make it “Jamie’s comedy show,” and the teacher wasn’t in the mood
  • All the recesses I spent inside or standing on “the line” while others were having fun
  • All the times in ALL of my grades in grade school of teachers having to move me around the class to figure out which place would keep me the most quiet and the least disruptive

It all lasted until 5th grade, when I finally started being able to better control my impulse to do whatever it was that would lead to trouble (and I sat up in front).

I really have no room to judge him about all of this and if I remember correctly, I was at least not admonished any further at home.  When I got corrected at school it stayed at school.  Comments made at parent teacher conferences stayed at school.  Comments made on report cards were talked about that one time and that was the end of it.

And the thing is, I remember very vividly the feeling I had when I got corrected in school.  That anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach…  that feeling where I wanted to cry and/or vomit.  That feeling of utter humiliation that I got publicly chastised and had to sit in the hall.  That feeling of realization that I disappointed my teacher.  Those feelings of frustration that I didn’t see it coming.

Tack onto that the feelings kids in grade school are already experiencing from being laughed at when they weren’t trying to be funny.  Being made fun of for their shoes.  or their hair.  or their parent. or their grades.  or their whatever.  Gradeschool (middle school especially) is a shooting range!

One of my friends was made fun of for being too skinny (they called her Ethiopian), another for being too fat, another for being too brown of a Mexican and another for being too white of a Mexican.  There was another that was made fun of for her first name and another for her last.  Another sweet kid was made fun of for the size of his ears and another for the size of his entire head.

I get it.  As adults this seems like benign stuff, and it is.  As adults we can see through comments like this and quickly realize that ridicule for anything like this (or pretty much anything and everything else) says a whole lot more about the speaker than it does the receiver, but to a kid it’s everything.  Can you imagine going to school and having to deal with a confrontation regarding your name, or what you brought to lunch, or what your favorite kind of music is, or where in town you live?

I digress…

What do I know about parenting, only having children ages 6 and 8 and growing up as a child myself?  I’m just spitballing here but I am certain that things we do to our children affects them for life – both good and bad. People like to talk about how parenthood ain’t easy, and they are right but guess what else isn’t easy… Being a kid.

Children’s brains aren’t fully developed, they are still learning how to handle their emotions, and we are throwing them into the world with other kids who are equally developing and might be growing up in homes with a lot of additional factors affecting them negatively. Our homes need to be a place of comfort and love for them. An oasis.

Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. 1 Peter 5:2

Yes, we have duties as parents to correct them when need be and guiding them and disciplining them but first and foremost is loving them.  When I tuck my girl in at night, she remembers bad things that happened at school and needs to tell me and be comforted. When my son gets home from school he needs some quiet time to decompress and relax before he faces his evening rituals, otherwise it’s an aggravating evening for everyone. Those are just my kids, you know yours.

With school just around the corner, I know I need the reminder on parenting during the school year.  The grade schools don’t seem to honor the 10 minute per grade level for homework… So when my son comes home with an hour’s worth of homework rather than the few minutes that he SHOULD get, I need to set the tone of calmness as his last nerve is stretched.

Armor up, mommies. Our God is such a great one. He trusted us enough to give us His children to parent for Him here on earth. He knows that we (and our children) are victorious people, so we needn’t fear any battle or issue placed before us. May God guide us this school year, to fill our kids up with love before they walk through those school doors and be eagerly waiting to refill them when they return home.