Monday, September 19, 2011

What I love about Kindergarten

The other day, my son Sam was in the process of losing a wrestling match with his dad, when he shouted out, “Dad, that’s not letting your light shine!”

Huh? Where’d that come from? Oh, right. Kindergarten.

We started on this new adventure in education just a few short weeks ago, and already it has made a big impact on Sam and the rest of our family. Here are the top five reasons why I LOVE kindergarten:

1. My son wakes up in the morning doing math. “Mom, did you know that five cows times two is ten cows?” Seriously? “Yup, seriously, Mom.” Well, now I know.

2. Kindergarten is tiring. By 8:00 p.m., my little muffin man is out, and I get the rest of the evening to … fill in the blank.

3. My husband and I are not the only ones challenging our son to try harder. His teachers don’t let him give up on himself. I adore them.

4. There are now other adults in Sam’s life who like doing crafts and are teaching him how to draw. This is awesome for me, because I am not crazy about crafts or very good at drawing.

5. My days are focused with minimized “multi-tasking” schizophrenia. I work primarily out of my home office, so the routine and scheduling structure of the school schedule is a huge favor to my sanity.

For the most part, Sam loves kindergarten, too, in spite of the question he asked on the way to school last week: “Mom, how long do I have to do this?” This was a teachable moment for both of us. Rather than say what came to mind (“For the rest of your life…”), I adjusted quickly to the positive and reminded him that he was really looking forward to karate at school the following Monday.

I realize the book has already been written (All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, Robert Fulghum), but I would be remiss to ignore the obvious. My reasons for loving kindergarten should apply to the rest of my life.

Am I learning something new every day that makes me excited to get out of bed? Does my work tire me out in a good way? Are people challenging me to try harder in areas that are hard for me? Do I tap into my network to complement and shore up areas where I am weak? Am I focusing on one thing at a time? Does my work schedule balance out well with our family’s schedule? When work gets to be a bit of a drag and I find myself asking how long I have to do this, do I look for new activities to keep myself motivated?

And most importantly, am I letting my light shine?