By: Danny Thomas

what is on my mind lately…?
I don’t even know where to begin…

had a conference last week
with Lil’ Chaos’s kindergarten teacher…
Señora M.
Bless her…
Bless all professional educators…
and lets dole out a nice healthy portion of blessings for those that choose to do it in the public realm…

not that I really have a choice…
financially, that is…
but I have convinced myself that public education
serves two very important purposes, besides the whole
readin’ writin’ and ‘rithmatic thing
that is, it exposes children to two things that I think are important to be exposed to.

the first is diversity… man, I think diversity is important.
it’s important to be used to it, accustomed to it, to enjoy and delight in it…. and to learn to navigate it… difference is wonderful, and beautiful, and terrifying, and difficult.
the second is…
well, something I don’t know exactly how to put into words… simply…
especially given that I am somewhat of a non-conformist… this goes counter to a lot of what I blather on about often, and believe too…
but I think it’s important for a kid to learn, as they do in public schools, to sometimes just conform to expected mores… to toe the line…
even if she is faking it (as I was, or thought -believed- I was) most of the time.

anyway back to our conference…
it was good.
We met with two teachers; Kindergarten teacher – Señora K, and Mrs. H – the K+ teacher… It’s clear to all of us that Lil’ Chaos is going through an adjustment period… being 6, growing up, and out, and independent… and having yet another little sister…

It was amazing to hear some of her struggles, so many of them echoing back 30 years to when I was a struggling elementary student… exploding out of my body and personality at every turn. it made me realize, yet again, how awesome my parents were -are. I never felt guilty or self conscious about those struggles… angry and frustrated, yes… but not self conscious…

it’s also clear to all of us that Lil’ Chaos is bright, and beaming, and full of potential, and sharp, and observant, and insightful, and creative… and possessed of many characteristics that will serve her well when she reaches adulthood, but that can be counterproductive to her life as a kindergartner…

anyway, at this conference Señora M. recounted a story:
not long after having her third child she was out to coffee with a friend
lamenting the madness of her life
and pining for a time
when things would get “back to normal”
her friend shared with her a bracing
dose of reality…
“this is it,” she said, “this is your reality, get used to it.”

she laughed as she told us that story
sharing in the knowledge that chaos is what it is
and that you just sometimes put your head down and go.

I laughed too, commenting that I have been saying to Jen
for the last year or so
that we have to stop thinking in terms of “when things settle down”
we have to just give up that concept entirely.

so then what do you do?
how do you do that…
a lot of the things that get put off
until “things settle down”

for us
are things like
filing, like
going through boxes
sorting papers
throwing away
old useless scraps of things
we can’t remember why we kept…
or can
but somehow
in the interim
have become less important…
things like
darning socks
rebuilding guitars
jigsaw puzzles
trying new stuff
ice fishing
snow shoeing
old hobbies too
getting that
flute re-felted


It felt good
to meet again
with Señora M.
such a lovely and wise person,
and to know
that she is on the same wavelength
as we
about our daughter
but about other things too…
We are different, diverse,
but we have an understanding,
and that’s good.

The post Conference appeared first on The Next Family.

Danny Thomas

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