Written by Bethany Todd
My daughter starts first grade on Tuesday. After getting her teacher’s name in the mail last week, I quickly received texts from friends reporting who their child had as a teacher. I was surprised to find that nearly everyone we knew was in the other first grade class. It seemed like my daughter had NO friends in her class; out of nearly 20 children! The teacher and parent in me got tense, thinking “How are these classes made?” As the summer continued, we met up with more children at the park, passing families in the grocery store, and I’m not kidding, still no one was in my daughters class. “What is going on?” I kept thinking.
Then…a few things happened:
- We attended First Grade Orientation, my daughter told a teacher greeting her at the door, “My dreams came true, I got the teacher I wanted!”
- I told my daughter that all of her friends were in the other class, she casually and with cheer replied, “That’s okay, that means I get to make new friends!”
- I confessed my concerns with my husband, he replied, “If you start that now, we’ll be doing this for 12 years.”
What I learned:
- I’m the only person worrying. My worry isn’t constructively doing anything. It has no power.
- My daughter can still surprise me. She is considerably more “go with the flow” than I thought and I am so proud of her ability to be open to something new. She showed gratitude for what she had, the teacher she wanted, not complaining about what she didn’t.
- If I had shared my worries with my daughter through my language; for example, “this is going to be really hard, no one is in your class”, then my daughter wouldn’t have had that the opportunity to be great in that moment.
- All of school is a learning experience. It’s not just learning to read and write, it’s learning to make new friends, not get what you want, and how to roll with it sometimes. Certainly, in the years of schooling ahead, my daughter won’t always get the teacher and friends she wants in her class. Teaching her how to cope with that now, will help in all the future experiences of it happening again and again.
- There wasn’t a great scheme against my daughter, they mix the classes and it just happened that way.
- Don’t worry about this little things, mom. This one isn’t a big deal.
I’m so blessed and looking forward to meeting new kids and parents alongside my daughter. This year is going to be great because we will powerfully and graciously approach each new day with joy, humility, and determination. Hug your little ones as they start the school year, calm your worries, and remember it’s all a learning experience.