Vail Daily letter: Listen to your gut
In my 30s, I would have told you what you needed to do to be a good parent. In my 40s, I would have compared my child to others to make sure she was smart enough, brave enough, kind enough, athletic enough, blah, blah, blah. In my 50s, I realized that I don’t have a clue about parenting and I have to let go of worrying, judging, watching and comparing. All the myths of parenting have proven untrue and I realize it takes guts, calm resolve and a heck of a lot of prayers.
So far, the only thing I know for sure is to stop listening to my head and listen to my gut. I found this to be particularly true when selecting a school for my daughter who was entering kindergarten last fall. Selecting the right school was important to us because we believed it would lay the groundwork for our daughter’s school experience. We’re not naive; kids have good and bad school years, but we hoped the first one would provide a positive experience. Unfortunately, you don’t really know if you made the right decision until your child attends the school.
After almost a year of kindergarten at St. Clare of Assisi Catholic School in Edwards, here are some questions I ask myself in evaluating the efficacy of our decision: Do I have to drag my child out of bed on Monday mornings or is she excited about starting another week? Does she ride to school with a stomach ache or does she talk endlessly about nothing? Does she race home to fill up her “book pages” to impress her teacher? Does she insist on displaying every piece of artwork she creates? Is she so excited about the school’s spring concert that she has to practice singing, “This little light of mine … ” every day? Does she tell you stories about the silly boys on the playground and how she outsmarted them during tag at recess? Does she leave school happy or does she fuss the whole way home in the car?
I’m pleased to report that our gut decision was the right decision thanks to Miss Brock! I had no idea how much of an influence a teacher could have on a child’s integration into the school environment. She teaches from the heart, not through fear and intimidation. She is nurturing but teaches discipline. She helps the kids build confidence by believing in them. She inspires the kids to learn and provides positive reinforcement for their efforts. She treats all children equally and requires respect from and for everyone in the classroom. She assigns just the right amount of homework and doesn’t criticize if you aren’t able to get it in on time. She recognizes that all children develop at different paces and adapts her instructions accordingly. Her energy is boundless and her enthusiasm is infectious.
Miss Brock taught me that listening to my gut was way smarter than listening to my head. We have laid the groundwork for the next eight years and I hope my gut doesn’t stop whispering to me. I guess this old dog can learn new tricks. Thank you, Miss Brock.