Happy Wednesday!! I am so excited to share somethings I have been thinking about for a while. Right before Lillian arrived, I wrapped up my role as the school counselor at an elementary school. Having worked in education for a large part of my professional career (mostly with high school students) and having a Masters in Psychology, I thought I had a good understanding of children. Working as the counselor validated that belief but also enabled me to learn about child development from a new perspective. I am so grateful to the school I worked at and will miss them next year!
I am sharing these here and would love to hear what other people think. Hopefully I can revisit some of these things when Lillian is older so that I can be a good parent to her.
- Children are extremely complex individuals. This was the most striking thing and definitely the one I hope I remember throughout my life. I was absolutely fascinated to learn about the intricate thoughts and observations that all of the children I worked with shared. Their maturity and wisdom beyond their years was constantly surprising and impressive.
- Divorce has a big impact on children. Actually, any big change-- new baby, moving, new classroom-- has a big impact on children. Especially if the change is not properly processed with them. Just because they look fine on the outside does not mean they are okay on the inside.
- Children need adults. I found that almost all students had a lot of great adults in their lives but most of them did not have someone who was not related to them or an authority figure of some type, whom they could just talk to with fear of getting in trouble or embarrassed. I love being someone who would listen and there were no repercussions, no punishments, and no judgments.
- Social skills are important. We live in community and being able to relate to others is critical. I worked with students who needed assistance in this department and I saw how once their social skills improved their entire world improved.
- There are rites of passage. I was reminded how students compared themselves when it came to important milestones: loosing teeth and starting menstrual cycle were the two ones that really stand out.
- Food is critical to their success. What students ate really impacted how they feel and ultimately, how they behave. More noticeable was how some students would act if they had not eaten. I guess I've never outgrown this and find myself hangry at times!
- They have good days and bad days. Pretty self explanatory but it was interesting to see how, although we were making lots of progress, sometimes kids just have bad days.
- Sleep is essential. This is obvious as well. A lot of students had trouble concentrating or staying in control if they did not get a good night's sleep.
- Children have incredible memories. I was constantly surprised by how incredible of memories my students had. They would remember things we discussed weeks ago! And able to recount every detail-- it was incredible!
- Children are hilarious. There was not a single day that I was not laughing with or at the students. Their excitement, sincerity, and sense of humor made the job a lot of fun.