Saturday, September 23, 2006

Kindergarten scholar

My son loves kindergarten.
He loves being challenged and meeting the challenge.
He loves learning things he can come home and teach his Mom and Dad.
He loves both the structure and the freedom of his new classroom.
And he loves the affirmation of his value that comes daily from his new teacher.
(He does not love nap time, but he never has, not even in infancy.)

Last week at school, I spent most of my waking hours and some of the hours I should have been sleeping on reading and writing and study. I drove home last Friday after only three hours sleep, made some dinner for us all and was in bed before Ryan. The next day, I was still exhausted. I took Ryan to a birthday party, but in the afternoon, I decided to work on a school project while Ryan and his Dad went to the park. I hated to lose the family time, but I also realized that my exhaustion from school created lost family time, too. I was trying to explain this to Ryan. I don't want to be this tired next week, I told him. So, I'm going to do some of my homework -- well, at home. That way I won't come home tired next week, and I'll be more fun to be around. Ryan comes out with a phrase that I know didn't come from me or Jeff: Mom, I'm going to tell you something about yourself that you may not know... (How does a 5-year-old even have that kind of concept of self?)
...even when you're tired, you are fun to be with and you have good ideas.

This week at school, I spent most of my waking hours in class or studying, but I spent my sleeping hours sleeping. So I'm not as tired, and maybe I'll be more fun to be with and have even better ideas.

I've always thought the book "Everything I needed to know, I learned in kindergarten" was, well, a bit trite. (My apologies if it's anyone's favorite.) But this week, I learned several things from my kindergartner.

He's been singing a new song. It appears to have only one line:
"I can do it, do it. I can do it, do it. I can do it, do it, if I try." And he tells me that he and his classmates are not allowed to say "I can't." And I've been happy to have that life lesson reinforced so positively for my son, who sometimes stops short of trying things he's unsure of. It took two weeks of hearing the "I can do it, do it" song before I realized it could be my song, too. A friend who knew me well in my professional life in journalism helped me talk through my struggles and concerns about my new life in ministry and seminary. At the end of our lunch, she labeled what she had heard: Karen, I don't know where all this self-doubt is coming from. In almost a decade of working with and for her, self-doubt was not something she had seen in me. A few days after that lunch, I was driving Ryan to school and he was singing the "I can do it, do it" song and asked me to sing along. So, we sang a little duet, and I realized that I need to sing that song and believe it. Instead of dwelling on all the reasons I might not be able to sustain myself in ministry or survive seminary, I need to move forward in faith bolstered by the confidence that I can do it, do it, if I try.


molly said...

dude. you SO can do it, do it.

and please remind me to tell you about my new "supernumerary" revelations.

Mary Beth said...

You can, indeed. you ARE!