Doesn’t it seem like yesterday was just the last day of school? Where did the summer go? My youngest just started kindergarten and she is thrilled to ride on the bus with her brother each day. And my son just started second grade. What emotions do you tend to feel as your special needs child starts a new school year?
I tend to feel extremely anxious the first week of a new school year. My heart fills with tension as I wonder if my son will make real friends or whether the kids will just tolerate him, the kid who tends to talk about the same things over and over again. I worry about whether he will be able to keep up with the academics that will be thrown at him way faster than his young brain is able to keep up with. If he is being teased will he realize it? Will math be too hard for him to process? Will his reading skills ever improve? What if...the next thing I know, I feel panicked.
FEAR: False Expectations Appearing Real
I just love this acronym because it helps remind me of truth. Fear is something that hasn’t even happened and many times, won’t ever will. I don’t know about you, but I waste so much time being afraid instead of living in the day-to-day reality. What good doesn't do me to worry about something that isn’t even real? If my son isn’t making friends at school, then I’ll talk to his teachers about it. If his reading doesn’t seem to be improving, I’ll hire a tutor. But why waste my energy on worrying about something that
isn’t real right now!
Last night I attended my kids’ back-to-school night. The reality is this: my son’s teacher just LOVES him and said he is doing extremely well so far. She said the boy that sits across from him is very outgoing and he helps my son during the day when he needs it. And in return, my son helps him settle down when it’s time to be quiet. See? All that fear and worry for nothing. My fears never became reality.
I’m sure my kids will face some challenges this upcoming school year, as will yours. But I’d like to encourage you to challenge yourself. Fear is a choice. Choose something
else. Choose joy and contentment. Praise your child for who they are and what they have been able to accomplish this past year, and look forward to all they will do in the year to come. If things come up, then deal with them. But try not to waste your energy on being scared about something that may never happen. Turn your fear into a new fear: Forget Everything And Relax.
~ Trisha Bailey