Wednesday, August 19, 2009

New Beginnings

August 19, 2009

I registered my little boy for Junior High yesterday. It's so funny how I still look at him as a little boy, even though he stands eye-to-eye with me and now has the deep voice of a young man. He is still my little boy, and I worry about this new journey he is about to embark upon. He's moving from the close, confined space of elementary, where people knew his name, knew his strengths and weaknesses, and knew his little idiosyncrasies. His teachers and some of the other key educators on his campus knew how to encourage and support him, helped him keep focused, and taught him to recognize in himself triggers that would frustrate him, so that he could avert trouble and be proactive in keeping himself on track and on a path that would keep him happy and successful.

Now he moves into a much bigger world. His teachers will see him for a much shorter time each day, and he'll have to navigate and organize this schedule in a way that he never has before. Organization is not, nor has it ever been, his strong suit. This, I imagine, will be one of our biggest challenges this year. In addition, Nicholas, like all kids, thrives when he knows that his teachers care about him and are rooting for his success. Nicholas doesn't intuit this kind of information, however; he tends to be a very concrete and straight-forward sort of guy. With the daily changing of classes and less personal contact with each of his teachers this year, our challenge will be to help him read the more subtle, less obvious signs that his teachers have his best interests at heart. This, so far, is the number one factor in helping to ensure that Nicholas has a good year--knowing that the people he comes into contact with in his every day life are there to help him and cheer him on, rather than to make is life difficult. Makes sense, right? We all thrive in an environment where we know people want us to do well and have high expectations of us.

The good news is that although organization and feeling connected are sometimes tough for him, Nicholas has really made some great progress in both of these areas. He has matured, as people tend to do, so I am nervous, but also hopeful that this new beginning on Monday will be a good one for him. Thus far, he has found very few friends that are in his classes. We think, though, that when he walks into his classrooms on Monday morning, he'll find some familiar faces. The elective he signed up for is not the one he chose, but he's keeping a positive attitude that journalism might not turn out to be such a bad choice anyway. And his love, his primary interest--Lego Robotics--was spearheaded in our district by the man who happens to be his principal this year--a man who also already has Nicholas' undying devotion because of their shared affinity (or obsession--depends on who you ask) for all things Star Wars. If nothing else, Nicholas is looking forward to being in the Star Wars club. And if that's the thing that helps connect him to the campus, to his teachers, then I'm all for light-saber battles on the quad at lunch.

Here's hoping for a great new beginning as my little man heads off on his new adventure!

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