• Jennifer Meliton

Kinky.

The first few days of school are always a bit clunky and full of kinks.

Oh, I hope you didn't think....no, of course you didn't.

Why can't school just get it right? My schools are on day three, but my neighborhood school district just started today with a pretty big redistricting project. I can't imagine how many bumps there were, and I hope there weren't too many bruises. Inevitably there are things that fall through the cracks. Here are a few reasons why being patient on the first few days can be so effective.

The scale of it all. If you have a busy family you know that it's hard to get everyone's schedule and activities coordinated. Students and families have different transportation needs. Consider the following. Many kiddos go between two parents due to custody agreements. That means that the principal, teacher, secretary, and bus garage have to be on the same page. This may come as a shock, but some folks aren't great about communicating changes.

Some of you might have a child going through an "uncertain" phase. The "uncertain" phase is noted by the frequent repetition of things like: I don't know, I'm not sure,

Huh? and my personal favorite, "You never told me that!"

Multiply (the multiple phases a child may experience of that plague) times (the number of kids). Divide by the number of times a peanut tells you, ("I think I'm supposed to go to dads instead of daycare today but I'm not sure") using the variable (5 minutes before dismissal).

You may have a solid thing going with a decisive kiddo who rides one bus, and yes. They totally get it. Until there are two lines going out the door and one little buddy stops to tie his shoe, the others merge and before you know it are trying to figure out which yellow bus is their yellow bus. The combinations are of variables leading to crazy scenarios are endless.

This is where the patience part packs a punch. For every kiddo there are probably at least two people tracking them down. Which means phone calls, texts, busy signals, anxiety, more phone calls, radioing the garage... and gridlocked communication.

We have the responsibility to get things right. These are your babies. They are our babies. In loco parentis is a latin phrase used in school law that means when kiddos come to school, we literally act like a parent, making decisions that are in the best interest of each child. We take this pledge incredibly seriously! The laws that govern us, the procedures that guide us, and the practices we exercise all have one thing in common. Kids. Kids with their variables, their uncertainty, their untied shoes, and unfocused strolls.

The loco parentis part of me was worried about how hot the kids and teachers were by the time afternoon rolled around. I recalled my mom's frequent seasonal assertion that, "We're not handing popsicles out to the whole neighborhood!" In a streak of solid defiance I did hand popsicles out to the whole neighborhood and doggone it, those orange, red and purple lips smiling all the way to their given mode of transportation were worth it.

I frequently mention Brené Brown because she's such a goddess of understanding people. She uses the term, "most generous assumption" and reminds us that if we can assume that others are doing their best, graciously assume the least damaging or hurtful explanation is true, we are much more able to handle situations with grace. How often have you been made mistakes because there is something that was out of your control? Perhaps you cut someone off in traffic on the way to see a gravely ill parent. The driver had the choice to wave with fewer than five (one) fingers and yell, or to generously assume you are troubled and need to get somewhere. How often have you wished that your boss would give you a break and assume you are doing best...after all there is so much going on!

Giving everyone the most generous assumption allows you to take a breath, and focus on the fact that while a glitch happened, it doesn't have to glitch your whole day.

Learn more about Brené Brown at her website:

https://brenebrown.com/

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