We have completed another "last first" in our "last first day of kinder." We are now 3 full weeks into the school year and it is going great!! But I did want to document Rigdon's first day of kinder, since I'm already forgetting some of the cute, funny, and inspiring stories that surround it. (Plus my mom asked me to write it down so she could re-visit. :) )
As the back story goes, Rigdon missed the deadline to start kinder last year by 9 days! So he got an extra year at home with mom, which he took to mean that he needed to become a read-a-holic, and speed right along in math and science, and every other aspect that he could. So he's been ready for kinder for well over a year. I felt inspired one day several months ago to talk to him about how we treat people at school. I was concerned that he would go to school and make the other kids feel bad with all of his vast amounts of knowledge and his gift of saying exactly what he thinks, no matter who hears. So we talked about the importance of being a helper and a leader in his class. We discussed that it's okay if other kids don't even know all of their letters yet. That's where they are and that is okay. So don't say things that will make them feel that they aren't as smart. As often happens with parenting, I had no idea whether or not he really absorbed this discussion, but at least I had tried.
After the first day of school, Rigdon came home and talked non-stop for a full hour about every detail he could think of from his day. He told me that as he sat on the bus he kept saying to himself in his mind "I can't believe I'm riding the bus! I can't believe I'm in kindergarten! I can't BELIEVE I'm in kindergarten!" and then Mercedes chimed in that he wasn't only saying that in his head over and over. ;) He got on that bus so confidently, greeted his friend, the bus driver, and waved with the biggest grin on his face. I then drove to the school to set up the parent breakfast, and saw him get off the bus, still grinning hugely, and walk into the school. He didn't need me to walk him to his class, or give him extra hugs.
He explained that there were several kids who were sad and crying because they missed their mom, or wanted to go home or were nervous or scared. One girl, he told me, "was really sad so she got on the floor in child's pose and cried" but he went over to her and rubbed her back and told her that it was okay. They became friends right away. Another student couldn't reach his backpack in his cubby because it was at the top. But Rigdon, being giant, got it down for him and he was grateful. He also helped another child reach a name tag that was too high to reach.
As I left the school after the parent breakfast was all cleaned up I happened to see Rigdon's class; his teacher, Mrs. Clark, told me that he was the designated class shoe-tier. I told her I wasn't sure that he was even that good at tying shoes, but she said that he insisted he wanted to be helpful and he had already helped tie of couple of shoes.
By about day 3 Rigdon's teacher was already telling me how much she loved him. She said that he is truly empathetic (a word that the school has in their motto) and she is so glad to have him in her class. I realized then that our little heart-to-heart discussion has made a difference. He hasn't once come home to tell me about the "baby-ish kids" in his class like he did after his first day of preschool. He is making friends with the kids, and he is leading by example. His teacher is allowing him to be a helper and a leader and building qualities that I feel are every bit as important as reading and writing. And my fear of him getting lazy and lowering his standards hasn't come to anything yet. He is writing beautifully, coloring and cutting beautifully and really loving every little bit of school. I feel so blessed to have this sweet boy as a part of my family. He constantly teaches me about true love for others, and our immense capacity to love. He is a gifted boy, and I'm so happy for him that he can be in school every day sharing his gift with others. As long as I get my Big Rig Hugs when he gets home. ;)
10 months ago