Worries and Inspiration

Part of my job is going into classrooms to do lessons on whatever topic is relevant to what teachers see going on for kids. In a few 4th grade team meetings, teachers have commented on anxieties and worries that really seem to be distracting kids and preventing them from being totally present in school. So I found this really great lesson on WORRY. What are worries, how to cope with worry and what are the effects of worrying. Part of the lesson is making up a top ten list of the classes worries. What are kids worrying about the most. In three classes, the top three worries were: 1) Death 2) Home/Family 3) Money! These are not adults-these are 9 to 10 year kids. Friends, Grades, Personal Appearance (things I would expect wish they would worry about)-and such had little to no presence on the worry list. The every loved catch phrase-peer pressure-NON EXISTENT in kids brains.

This was so amazing to many of us. It makes me think of many things. One being that there are no censures on kids anymore. We tell our kids everything. Talk to them, key them into all of what is going on. It is too much. I find even with my own kids, words and thoughts get twisted from their actual meaning. Saying to Ella two days before her birthday party that we can’t make a switch to a party at the gym partly because it is a lot money-got turned into telling Grandma that we don’t have enough money to have a party at the gym.  Even with the best intentions, I think we have to work at allowing kids to be kids.

Our baby-sitters daughter is nine and she said that she struggles with clothes that are too old, make-up that is too much, and cell phones that are more phone then I will ever own.  Why do we want kids to grow up so quickly?  Why do we push our adult ways onto kids? Are we so happy?  I don’t think so…

It also makes me think that as a society we are constantly blaming schools for our kids failures.  But folks, if this small group of 70 kids is any kind of indicator there is a lot more going on in kids lives than school.  I think our families are failing kids.  And I think society is failing our families.

But on a lighter note…I had a really tough meeting today.  Unconfortable topics, elephants in the room being brought to light.  At the end of the day, my vice-principal complimented me on how I handled myself.  Said I was very professional and even…wait for it…”You are an inspiration.”  Really!  What a fabulous thing to hear from someone you respect and doesn’t have to tell you those things like your parents are required to do…it says so in the parent handbook.  😉

Except from what I heard from kids today…maybe the handbook has changed.

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12 thoughts on “Worries and Inspiration

  1. Jen says:

    You ARE an inspiration. Those kids are lucky to have you in their lives. It is sad what our world is doing to kids. Eli watched The Grinch this weekend and then told me to give it away because he thought the Grinch was a bad man. It’s gone. We’re going back to Little Bear.
    Peace for Kids.

  2. MM says:

    Funny how the Universe swirls around us. I was having a conversation about parental boundaries just the other day. A statement was made about what to tell children in a divorce situation and I put my foot firmly down. I wish I could relate the story but it escapes me. Children today are so inclusive into the adult world. There are many times that information is TMI for children. Adult conversations are for adults. The Disney movies that I went to see as a 10 year old are now being seen by 2 year olds. No wonder they have night terrors, some of that stuff is pretty graphic, even for a 10 year old.
    Being a parent is hard work, many people choose to just “not do”the job, even though they created the position. Sad commentary on our society, indeed.
    After all, my elementary/middle school didn’t have a guidance counselor. That role was filled by my parents. I am so glad that your administrator is supportive of your work. It is a difficult job, at best and heart breaking, at worst. I can safely say that you put a lot into your work and the rewards may not be seen for years but there will be rewards for those children who’s lives are touched by yours.

  3. Sri says:

    Very interesting topic. From what I have observed, and I say this without even being a parent so I hope I’m not totally off the mark, children seem to imbibe what parents project on them. And parents in turn do that because of the pressure from society and/or laziness. However, there are a lot of adults out there that either defy society or find the means to get around it. Bless their souls.
    The lazy parents leave the work to teachers,friends and guidance counselors, and it seems as though the lazy parents are increasing in number. It’s so unfortunate that children grow up so quickly, but thank god for a system that has a place for a profession like yours.

  4. pedro says:

    Fear not, Bethy! Society has been ‘failing’ kids for forty years now and we’re still OK.

    On the flip-side, did you see the 60 Minutes piece on kids being over-protected by parents? An HR director told the story of a mother calling to ask why her little Jimmy didn’t get that post-college entry-level job. How crazy is that? These kids (young adults) just expect everything to go their way. Perhaps a little dose of worry would be good for them . . . . ?

  5. ally says:

    pedro’s got a point, but it seems like their worries are lying in different places then when I was a kid. I worried most about what other kids thought of me, friends that were mean and my grades. I agree that older kids, high-schoolers, need to learn about responsibility. I know so many people who’s parents babied the hell out of them till they graduated high school and they can’t seem to find their way in the world as a result. When does being a kid end and learning to be an adult begin? Certainly not at nine or ten so is it 15 or 16? Having kids frightens me, I don’t know if I would know where to start to prepare them for the crap we have to deal with in every day life. I do know that no nine year old of mine would be wearing make-up! I hope not anyway!

  6. Further to what Pedro & Ally posted- A friend of mine teaches in an affluent NJ district and once told me of an incident where some of the girls on the softball team were caught shoplifting on a team trip, one of their mothers marched into the principal’s office and demanded to know what was going to be done to keep the “little bitches” (IE, the girls on the team who DIDN’T steal anything) quiet. Amazing.

  7. barngirl says:

    Well, if there is one thing I think we can all agree on for sure…whether it airs on the side of not being present or being too present…some people REALLY SUCK at being parents. And believe me I worry often about what damage I am doing to my children. But one thing I know…they will not be wearing makeup at 9,
    I will not call anyone to see why they didn’t get a job,
    and I never have, nor will I ever call any girl a little bitch (gross it is even awful to write it). Of those things I am confident…
    I loved everyones’ thoughts on this matter. It is one very near and dear to my heart.

  8. Yeah, if I even get into my opinion on this I’m going to sound like such an old crank but basically, Internet/TV= ending kids’ childhoods quicker. But as far as the kids’ worries I do remember occasionally being rather worried as a kid that Russia was going to blow us all up. Probably had a lot to do with what was being discussed at the dinner table, I don’t know where else I would have picked up on the Cold War.

  9. ally says:

    1) Trust me, you are not doing anything to damage your kids, your probably the best Mom I have seen of your generation. I did a lot of babysitting in highschool (the best form of birth control) and saw a lot of crappy parenting.

    2) On a funnier note, I also worried about having to have kids someday. I remember I watched “She’s Having a Baby” with you once and it terrified me. Its amazing what I remember from my childhood about being around you and Pete. You sure loved Kevin Bacon ;P

  10. barngirl says:

    Ally-AWWWWWW-thanks for the kind words.
    And I still love that stupid movie. But look I wasn’t your parent but I traumatized you. I am so sorry. 🙂
    I did like Kevin, but I also really loved the actress, um, Elizabeth something…She was in Ordinary People, too. My most favorite movie…Come on Mary Tyler Moore, Donald Sutherland, Timothy Hutton, Judd Hirsch (who I met once)..and her. Fantastic Movie. But I Digress.

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