Thursday, June 6, 2013

Happy Dance!!

We all have days when we wonder how successful we are at raising our children. Are we giving them the guidance they need to make the decisions that will shape their future? Are we placing them in environments that will foster self-worth? Are we working to insure that they know the importance of humility and a servant's heart? Are we teaching them about respect for their elders? And how are they being affected by the things that we can't always control, like their peers, and the media?

The other day was one of those days when my heart did a BIG happy dance. Some of these questions that I often ask myself were answered in the form of notes written by Sara Ashley for her teachers' end of the year appreciation luncheon. I had been asking Sara Ashley to write these notes for three days and I was a bit frustrated at her procrastination, but the results certainly made them worth the wait. They gave me a wide peek into my child's heart and soul. They also revealed much to me about her feelings for her teachers, her school, and her own self-worth.

Here is some of what she wrote:

"You have been such a great teacher and you push us so hard in a good way! Your pushing us so hard this year has made it to where I've learned a whole bunch! Thank you!"

"You are the best principal! You work so hard for us! Thank you for that. Everyday you raise your hand in lunch and I emetley (immediately) pay strate etenchen (straight attention)!"

"Everyday is a blessing for me coming to the school you created for kids like me! Thank you for looking out for us! Even though we're different, you make it to were (where) we love being us!"

It brings me joy and peace to know that my child is receiving such wonderful instruction, guidance and nurturing in her school environment. Saying that it takes a village to raise a child is not an understatement. There are so many factors beyond our control that play into our children's upbringing. This can be scary for parents! And while real world conflict can create resiliency in a child, I find it very comforting to know that my child feels loved and accepted in her school environment. I think this is especially important for a child with disabilities, where school can often be a place of fear and dread. Recently I saw a quote that gave me great insight into what it must be like to have a learning disability. It reads:

“Imagine going to work and not being able to do your job. Now imagine that you can't leave your job. Imagine having to do that every day. This is what life is like for children with learning disabilities."

Dr. David Urion
Director, Neurology and Learning Disabilities Program,
Children's Hospital, Boston

I can't imagine the frustration that kids with learning differences must experience on a day to day basis. So to know that my child's school environment is not adding to that frustration is truly a blessing. More importantly, to know that her school is encouraging her and elevating her to be a person of true character is like the cherry on top of an ice cream sundae!

Finding the right school for each child is an important part of parenting. Someone once reminded me that our children spend more awake time in school each weekday than they do in their own homes. What an eye-opener! This certainly magnifies the importance of choosing the best school environment possible. So if you haven't found the right fit, don't give up! There are schools out there for each child's learning style and temperament. Public schools, Charter schools, Magnet schools, Private schools and even home schooling are all options. And don't let a price tag keep you from exploring. Many schools offer scholarships for students and families who desire to help their children. Don't forget about the Special Needs scholarships that are offered in certain states too. These can often cover partial or entire private school tuitions.

Our kids are counting on us to provide the parenting they need. They are our future! And we owe it to them to find a place where they can learn their best AND feel that they are accepted and loved for who they are and who they aspire to be.

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