’Tis the season…not that season. I am talking about the school season. That’s right, all the excitement and frenzy of seeing friends again, starting new grade levels, gaining new knowledge, finding new maturity and, of course, the thrill of getting new school supplies. The pleasure of it all is enduring to my own childhood memories of the school season.
Wait, wait, wait, what am I thinking?!? I was only remembering part of the story. What about the other part? The anxiety of the unknown, the fear of rejection, the challenges of being a child in an institution, and my least favorite, the horrific stress of too much schoolwork at home! How can we remember to keep the calm in the chaos of the storm?
As our children grow and mature, it is sometimes difficult to remember they are just beginning to connect and understand the roller coaster of emotions our culture and human existence can bring. Often their ability to become aware of and manage these is directly related to those surrounding them. I believe as adults we often, unintentionally, add to those challenging emotions.
It is not easy for us to hear the deep pain in our child’s voice or the lack of gratitude for the opportunities we have provided for them. These moments can often trigger such deep emotion in us that our reactions can be compatible to the very ones we are asking them to stop. I can think of times when my reaction to my child’s outburst of emotions brought upon an outburst in return? Following those moments, I couldn’t help but wonder what I was teaching in those experiences. Can you imagine someone telling you to stop yelling and screaming and get that work done while yelling and screaming at you? I have no desire to teach my son that behavior.
One of the beauties of life, of parenting, is we can change our behavior. I choose to try to make a conscious decision to react in those challenging moments with the desired behavior rather than the behavior being presented. Each time I remember that, the situation calms down more quickly and I feel the growth of love that occurs as the emotions have an opportunity to mature…mine and his! My child will share what is really going on deep inside or at the very least his angst calms down so he can accomplish the task at hand.
Some days it is no small feat to hold that space of calmness in the chaos. But when I do, I can’t help but wonder who learned the lesson that day. While connecting in the moments of chaos, I am grateful for all the opportunities my child gives me to grow deeper in love with a grace I desire to receive when I have my own challenges burst to the surface in undesired emotions.
As I go through this season of school, I desire it to be filled with more love and hope then chaos and despair. I want my child to gain the ability to have compassion and understanding for the emotions he is feeling so he can be better equipped to remain calm while seeking solutions to the chaos. What a beautiful world it would be if the children of today could evolve at a young age with powerful tools to manage the stressors in life. We can consciously choose to fill their toolbox with such grace. A grace filled with an emotional maturity that will humble those of us well beyond their years.
Michelle Grabanski Pohlad