You know that kid, right? The one that is always at the front of the line with the teacher. The one who has a particular spot on the carpet in the classroom. The one whose desk is positioned just so in the classroom. The one who is talking non-stop. The one who is falling down or can’t quite seem to stay in the class line. The one who for better or worse you cannot forget because they left such a lasting impression on you. The impact is such that no matter where you are, how much time has elapsed, or how far removed you are everything still feels fresh and new. All because of that kid. You remember the laughter, the tears, the experiences, the memories, and the hope that you did something right for that kid. You feel as though the memory of that kid will never leave your mind.
But who is that kid? That kid is the one who after the first day of school, the entire staff from the secretary to the janitor to the lunchroom staff all know his name. That kid is the one who disrupts the class with plenty of noise and nonsense sounds for apparently no reason at all. That kid is the one who has been sent to the principal’s office so many times that it is no longer a punishment, but an escape from life in the classroom. That kid is the one who hits, pushes, kicks, and punches. That kid is the one who will say one thing but mean another. For the love of peace and quiet, that kid is the one who is constantly talking.
Other parents don’t want that kid at birthday parties, sleepovers or god forbid she be a part of their kids’ sports teams. We’ve seen that kid at an occasional birthday party wandering in a state of sensory overload. We’ve seen that kid stick close to the edge of the playing field covering his ears because the other kids were too loud. We’ve seen that kid wondering why he doesn’t say please or thank you. We’ve seen that kid always seem to be watching from afar.
But guess what? There is so much more to that kid. There is humor, intelligence, and talent that parents would love for others to see what they are able to see every day. There are hopes are dreams alive and well within that kid. There is drive and determination to not always be labeled as that kid. It is not fun to always be known as that kid. When things go wrong, or something goes missing, it is always assumed that kid had something to do with it. The coping skills for that kid are not as developed, so those situations can prove to be stressful.
But do you know what is great about that kid? That kid comes home from school and sings at the top of her lungs for hours. There might be potential brewing, but the world may never get a chance to hear because a teacher said stop singing.
That kid practices shooting baskets for hours because he doesn’t like when the other children laugh at him for shooting an airball.
That kid cries at the movies. Especially when the main character feels pain because to her, it feels so real, and it hurts so much.
That kid has memorized every Pokemon + its skills + powers. He can play an elaborate game by himself but wishes he had a friend to share it with.
That kid will curl up in your lap for a good story or a hug any day of the week.
Some days it just doesn’t feel like its enough. Somedays that kid is just too much. He doesn’t seem like he hears a word that is being said. She is defensive and agitated. He is whiny and seeking constant reassurance. But that kid needs your time, your patience, your attention, and your encouragement.
How do I know? My child is that kid. We’ve seen the eyes rolls when our kid came running to the join the team. We’ve been patted on the back and told, “We know you are trying at home with that kid.” We’ve heard the whispers as other kids point out our kid as that kid to their parents. We’ve sat through too many meetings to count to discuss what to do about our child. What we need for our child is extra time for processing, clear choices, for someone to hold him accountable to his choices, patience, kindness, and a chance to be a kid. Not that kid.
All my best to you,