Raising My Own Kids Helps Me Teach, Part 1
I have found that personal stories often rivet my students, and now I’m using stories about my own kids to connect with parents too.
For example, my son is working to process transitions and the unexpected in a more serene manner. I think this will take a while, yet it’s also very entertaining, such as I saw in last Wednesday’s baseball game.
In the top of the first inning he balked at catching because the team catching helmet is ill-fitting, but he finally shuffled out under a little pressure and sat behind the plate like a spectator, as do nearly all seven year old catchers.
During his first at-bat he experienced a rare strike out then refused left field in the top of the 2nd. How could he play when his water bottle was surprisingly still in the car? The 3rd inning also found him stuck in the dugout because his ear was ‘rubbed too hard’ taking off his batting helmet, and 4th inning fielding was out of the question too; after all who can play after you've leaned against the dugout wall and found gum stuck to your back? Gross!
Yet in the bottom of 4th, with his team down 14 to 5, he ignited a 10-run rally by leading off with a single, scoring, then later RBI’ing as the other team experienced their turn to forget fielding skills. The top of the 5th completed the turnaround from Bad-News-Bears-first-game-type disaster to victory as his team clinched it 15–14 by holding the opponents scoreless. That was the wildest baseball game and the most abrupt athletic turnaround I’ve seen.
I remain patient considering that change takes place through relationships over time and my son will mature. I’m glad that I did not get visibly frustrated; maybe if I had it would have ruined the rally chance. I really appreciate the understanding and pleasant support of other parents on the team and hope I can transmit that kind of benevolent regard to my students’ parents. And then I was able to reference this story to encourage one parent and bring in optimism to a conversation about long-term growth.
I think there will be plenty more chances to connect my parenting episodes with my students and their parents; all the merrier.