During the pick up line earlier this week, the younger brother of a student sprinted up to his brother, dove at the boy's back, and wrapped himself around the older boy's legs as he was climbing into a friend's car. It would have been an excellent tackle in an NFL game, and having worked at an all boys school, my immediate thought was that the younger boy wanted to be part of the playdate whether they invited him or not.
As I approached the open door and feet dangling on the pavement, the younger boy was still wrapped around his brother's legs, and as he gently cried, it was clear he was not ready to let go. The older brother looked me in the eyes and whispered, “It’s his first day ever of after school, and he is really nervous to do it by himself.”
The older brother showed incredible patience as we talked to the younger boy, released his grip, and walked him over to the after school pick up. Had I tackled one of my siblings like that, they would have put a Barbie lunch box into my face and pushed me out of the vehicle without hesitation. The older brother drove off to his playdate, and a number of teachers huddled with his younger sibling.
After some kind words of encouragement from these teachers, the hesitant after school camper agreed to try it but only for ten minutes, and then he told us he would need his mom to pick him up.
This little guy displayed some serious courage as he walked to the Strong Wings building for his ten minutes of afterschool, although I am pretty sure his lunch box with extra snacks was launched into the car that left with the older brother. I was confident that we could find him something to eat if needed to.
About 10 minutes later, I grabbed a granola bar from our secret stash, and I wandered over to check in on the little brother. He was filling his water bottle with the hose and chanting “Let's go hike! Lets go hike!” He was assigned to be the “line leader” and the team of eight students followed him toward the van with all their arms raised and chanting something about their teacher.
The ten minute deadline had passed, and it was an amazing transition for this little brother.
Today at drop off, I had the opportunity to ask the younger brother how he liked his first day at after school, and I was greeted by a very loud, “It was awesome!!” as he sprinted into school.
We see transitions like this happening all the time. From the ropes course to morning meetings, it is our hope to safely challenge our students and let them independently find growth, and that takes some partnership. It is not always an easy instinct for a parent to watch their child challenged and even harder to watch failure without intervention. However, I remain so confident in the teachers in this community, and their nurturing approach to helping their students grow through challenges, failures, and ultimately through successes. Hopefully, we can accomplish more of those successes without the NFL level of tackling.
One week from today on October 1, we will be having the back to school picnic. We will supply burgers and dogs, and you have probably already signed up to provide something when you RSVP’d. Please also bring your own non-alcoholic beverages and a picnic blanket to help enjoy the afternoon. The event kicks off at 4:00.
If you are having your child go home with another family, please email the classroom teacher and copy Danielle at firstname.lastname@example.org
. We want the pick-up process to run smoothly and making sure we know about changes in advance is very helpful. Thanks.
Have a great weekend,