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.