I’m going to be totally honest. The first day of school stirs up more stress and anxiety than excitement in our house - myself included. In the past years, we have struggled with adjusting to new teachers and classrooms and even making new friends because of anxiety (or worries.) So as the school year approaches, I can’t help but feel a tightening in my chest that whispers “ok, here we go again! Brace yourself. Get ready!”
However, this year things are looking much different as meet the teacher night and the first day of school approaches. There is genuine excitement in the air! Anticipation has taken the place of anxiety. Jitters have taken the place of stress. I’ve noticed a positive spin in the way my children are approaching the upcoming changes and adjustments. And as much as I would love to take credit for this, I totally can't! I think it’s the result of the kindness of teachers and friends from the previous years that have assured my kids that everything will be ok. It is because of a few kids, who became best friends, choosing kindness on those first few rocky days - weeks - or even, in our case, months of school going back. It is the open-hearted kindness and understanding from the teachers that they had. Teachers who understand that not every kid is excited about going back to school. Teachers who know that sometimes a kid just needs to go for a walk down the halls to shake off the anxiety. In fact for some children, it is extremely difficult and painfully scary to make change.
Kindness is what made a difference in the way my kids view going back to school. Open-heartedness, understanding, and believing them is what has empowered them to change their experience. And often it did not take a grand gesture, just a small one.
So as she goes back with a refreshed, new, and different attitude this year, we talked about how SHE can be one of those people who helps someone who might be having a tough time. Sometimes just a small gesture can set someone at ease. She can pay it forward and be the one to make a difference for someone else.
This reminds me of this quote, so I'll end with this:
Be kind. Always.