I swear…. this is one of my favorite memories from this time of year. It was a great teaching moment for my kids, and for me as a parent.
5 years ago, my boys were in Kindergarten… their first year at our amazing elementary school (this year is sadly our last). We have had 5 years of awesome teachers, staff and volunteers. Our Ladd Lane family goes above and beyond, and when people tell me how great my kids are, those folks played a BIG part in shaping their personalities. I am so very thankful…
Each year at the school, the kinder classes learn the story of Thanksgiving, and craft costumes of either Pilgrims or Indians, and do a little parade around campus. It is the cutest. The boys’ teacher that year, Mrs. Raper, asked each student what they wanted to be to represent Thanksgiving, and each child chose to be either a Pilgrim or an Indian.
Then, there is my kid. I’m talking about Kevin. My sensitive, smart, crafty, sometimes moody little dude. He has ALWAYS marched to his own tune. He is an individual beyond measure – I think my twins really TRY to have NOTHING in common. They have a lot of the same traits, that they show in their own ways – but never the same traits at the same time (can you say Gemini Twins?!?).
Kevin wants to be corn. In his 5 year old mind, corn represents Thanksgiving.
What Mrs. Raper did (or actually didn’t do) blew me away. It might not seem like a big deal, but it really is. She did not tell him that he was wrong. She did not ask or encourage him to go along with the instructions and BE an Indian or a Pilgrim. She let him be corn. She went out of her way to help him make a “corn” costume so he could be himself that day. Now, it WAS cute as hell…. but more importantly – it was Kevin.
I mean gosh – it would be so easy to make him go along with the class. Do do what he was instructed to do. To be who we want him to be. But, who does it hurt if he wants to be corn? Think about it (I am talking BIG picture here people)….
Yes, you should teach your kids right and wrong. You should guide them to build their own moral compass. But you should teach them that they can do it their own way. They can be themselves and not be judged, but be supported. Teach them that it is okay to stand out, and to stand up for yourself. Teach them that there are times when the world will try to drag them down with judgement and ridicule – but to look for the good in people and use that to build themselves up. You know what parents – you need to stick up for your kids. You need to be their biggest cheerleader. Know when they are faced with the hard stuff, teach and build and help them grow into strong & compassionate people.
It is a scary world. I hate that there is so much evil to stress about in this world – maybe it has always been there – but technology has put it right in our faces 24-7. Sheltering your kids or trying to force them to comply to the social norm is (in my opinion) a big part of what is wrong with society today. Y’all – the proper way to deal with bad feelings, bullying, disappointment, mental health issues… has got to be something other than a mass shooting. That cannot be the answer, and yet it seems to happen EVERY DAY.
So keep it simple: Be the corn. Or the tater(s). Or whatever you want to be. Do that. Be you. Don’t let anyone tell you to be someone else.
#CrazyAsAMother #FrickAndFrack #BeTheCorn #YouDoYou #Thankful #LaddLaneRocks #TeachersMakeAWorldOfDifference #BeTheChangeYouWantToSeeInTheWorld