Monday, August 16, 2010
© Russ Beck
It has been many years since attending my last class in graduate school. The most notable and formative years, however, were from grade school through the end of high school, while passing through the gauntlet of tests, homework, gym, dating, and a myriad of social and academic challenges.
Being so far removed from the rigors of attending school, you would think it would play a small role in my life but that is not the case. During times of stress I still dream about being late for a class and running around the halls trying to find the right classroom. Or, another dream is that of running out of time and trying to remember the combination to my locker. But, my most nauseating dream has me sitting at a desk in a class where I have no idea what is being taught, knowing the teacher is about to ask the class a question and praying she won’t call on me.
Do any of these dreams sound familiar? This is just one indication of the impact school years can have on an individual.
As adults, we are well aware of the tremendous stress our places of employment put upon us. We worry about keeping our job or we complain about having our job. We say we work for an idiot or we're the supervisor of idiots. And most of us feel we don’t make enough money.
But, are we aware of the stress our children endure in their jobs as students? They encounter a host of difficult situations during those most formative years. Children can be bullied and afraid for their safety. They can be struggling with maintaining grades or feeling they don't have any friends. Or, feeling the friends they have are not loyal.
I think we can find that the school years are a time of not only learning educationally, but a time of learning who we are and who we might want to be. As parents, we can offer help for our children in several ways.
Pay attention to your children's behaviors. Are they different than they used to be? Are there signs of excessive worry or concern? Is it simply nervousness at being in a new grade? Or is there a real problem?
Take time to visit with your children and hear what their concerns or accomplishments are. Not only does communicating help them to establish a good relationship with you, but they will also be learning a valuable lesson on how to be a good parent. My father passed away almost 18 years ago and I still have times when I wish I could call him and discuss what is going on in my life. We need to take advantage of the precious gift of time we have now while our children are young.
Let them know that you are on their side. Whatever you can do to help their world be safer, more secure, and make a little more sense, will do wonders for helping to ease the stress of their lives. Ask questions, dig around a little, and make sure you understand what the issues are in their lives, and then offer to do what you can to help.
Lastly, those of us who are LDS can utilize the Priesthood and offer a blessing to each of our children at the start of the school year. It is an opportunity where, as members of the church, we can do our best advocacy work by imploring the God of Heaven to be with and protect our children. They, too, will feel of this and know of not only our love, but of God’s love as well.
School years can be difficult, but they are actually a great preparation for life. The lessons learned during that time remain with people throughout their lives. And the relationships we establish with our children during their school years can remain for eternity.
Until next time …
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