It’ s all in our minds…

Today’s lesson: It’s all in your mind (take if you need).

Yesterday, my daughter, who is 6, thought she was going to a friend’s house and got on the bus when she wasn’t supposed to. The fact that she managed to escape the notice of the teacher on duty, myself and the bus driver is a topic for another day. Luckily, I was able to stop the bus as it came back past the school and get her off.

What seemed like a funny misunderstanding to me was a cause of great mortification for my daughter, and she hid in her room for over an hour in case her brother teased her about it. Not only that, but this morning, she flatly refused to go to school for the first time ever. She loves school.

It didn’t matter what I said, that no one would remember or think it was a big deal, she was sure that everyone was going to tease her and laugh at her. She is extremely thin skinned, just like her mother (ahem) :).

I considered letting her stay at home…but I had to go to work – at her school. Bigger than that was the lesson that she wasn’t going to get if she avoided reality by staying at home. My daughter has a very vivid imagination, and she’s super smart. This is usually a good thing, except for when it isn’t, like now.

I decided that I would make her go to school, so that she could start to get an understanding of what happens when we let our minds take over and lose touch with reality – that is, what we KNOW is happening as opposed to what we think might happen. I won’t go into the details of how you make a 6 year old who doesn’t want to go to school – go to school – you may already know, and if you don’t, it ain’t pretty.

Finally, we both struggle across the road to the school. I’m un-showered, still in my daggy early morning trackies and hair sticking up everywhere. We walk in through the gate, she nervous and reluctant, me sweaty and wary. One of her friends bounces up to her on a big red ball. “Hi Alani!” he says cheerfully, and proceeds to tell her about his cousin’s birthday party yesterday.

Across the playground, a year 6 boy waves at her and calls out, “Alani! Come here and watch me do the hammer throw!” Yes, this really happened, because I saw it. The school that may children go to and that I work at, is not your average school.

By the time we reached the top of the path, her fears had evaporated like incense in the breeze. I was still traumatised, but never mind about that 🙂 And it occurs to me how often we do this to ourselves, even as adults. How we tell ourselves stories, then believe them, and then torture ourselves with the made up story!

Just for today, my friends, let us stick to the facts. Let us not believe our own imaginings and get carried away by our fantasies. There’s a time and a place for stories – and that is in between the pages of a good book.

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17 comments

  1. Good advice, Sara. I too can get up in my own stories…sometimes it helps when I share my story with my husband who very quickly points out fact from fiction. (Is it just me, or are men much more pragmatic?) Also, I think there’s a lesson on resilience tucked into your post…something my kids teach me regularly.

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    • Oh yes, resilience for sure. Resilience I have, getting caught up in my own stories, oh my, I have that too. I’m aware of it though, which is something 🙂 I really think men just stick to the facts emotionally much more than we do. They are much less likely to attempt to mind read as well. I’ve always tried to avoid the mind reading thing – I think it’s a bad communication habit – but it creeps in through my X chromosomes I’m sure 😉

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  2. Wow, how in the world did she do that? (Don’t bother answering here. Yes, its own post. Just couldn’t help remarking.)

    It’s amazing how universal the human condition is – across gender, age, and culture. I’ve been struggling a little like your daughter this wk. I need to reread my post – did you catch Get Over Your Bad Self – It’s Not About You? Didn’t want to leave the link, esp if you saw.

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    • I would love to read that post, and yes, a link would be helpful 🙂 It’s funny how we think that links might be spammy or presumptuous, but mostly they’re just helpful…that’s our brains just second guessing our good intentions again! Oh, you know, I’ve been struggling with this kind of mind stuff all my life – I think we all do, us funny humans 🙂

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  3. I’m so glad Alani made it to school so she didn’t have to torture herself with the feeling of embarrassment for a whole day…even if it meant you arrived un-showered. Love this post and the reminder, “it’s all in your mind.”

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  4. Wow, your daughter is only six. I had no idea it started so young! Her story rings so true in my own life, with a situation that happened just this week. Like your daughter, I am humiliated, and have thought of keeping my face hidden. I think I need you to come drag me out of the house today too. 🙂

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