Nolie’s Nook – Back To School Is Quickly Approaching

Nolanne Rust

Back to school is quickly approaching for my big kids and so many others in our area.

This year, I send my “babies” off to middle school (for the first time) and the other’s last year of elementary!

I don’t know where time has gone but I know I’m not yet ready for summer break to wind down for multiple reasons.

Mostly because I want to keep them home and young and with me all the time.

But one of those reasons is because I know school can bring stress and anxiety and so much negativity to so many children. I pray it doesn’t happen to my boys, but chances are they will have a negative experience at some point. And it will have nothing to do with the school they are in, but with how {some} kids have been raised to think is acceptable.

If we want a world of positivity, we have to be teaching our kids that. We have to constantly remind them of their worth so someone else doesn’t make them believe differently. I know I have work to do in that area. My boys know I love them unendlessly, but to make them really know their value is more than loving them and protecting them.

I usually speak on Oskaloosa, but friends- this is not an Oskaloosa thing. Any school your child will step into, will have people that put a label on them from day one. Jock. Prep. (I’m over 30, I don’t actually know if those are terms my kids will ever even hear or know meaning of.) Too fat. Too skinny. Dirty. Nerd. Pretty Girl. Not name brand clothing is going to mean poor. They don’t have a phone yet is going to mean their parents don’t love them as much. And then eventually it’s going to go further. Player. Slut. Suck up.

I don’t even want to imagine the names that our kids are being called because I know it would break my heart. But what we as parents can do, is make sure our own children know right from wrong. That it’s okay to like the same pair of shoes you wore last year. That it’s more than okay to be friends with someone who is usually by themselves. And this is a big one for my boys, because it’s very common for parents to say that “if someone hits you, you have the right to hit them back”, but my boys don’t hear that from me. I can respect the decision for others to say that, and I can promise that I do not judge anyone for that- you will not find a more Momma Bear lady than this one right here. But a few years ago I decided that I didn’t want them to expect getting hit or to hit someone out of anger. So I have made it clear to my boys that our rule is to protect yourself if and as needed, protect your friends, and at all costs you best be protecting your brother. But for me, that doesn’t always mean hitting. Sometimes it means shielding. Sometimes it means removing yourself from an area. Sometimes it may be pushing someone off or grabbing a kid’s arm and holding it so he can’t continue hitting someone else. Guys- I don’t say this because I’m raising “pansies” or because my first instinct wouldn’t be to walk down to that school and watch a punch happen. But because I want my boys to know respect. There are times where the pain of a punch wouldn’t touch the pain that a bully may be feeling, and I don’t want them adding to it. There are times when the only kindness kids see are from the people they treat the worst.

We have to be showing children kindness, and we have to encourage them to do the same.

Since I was reminded recently that not everyone feels the same way on respect as I do, I’m going to be really honest here to avoid all the accusations of hypocrisy or whatever else grown adults will also label others as…….

I am not perfect. I have never been perfect. I don’t know that I actually called anyone names in school, but I know I wasn’t always respectful and that sometimes my actions could have hurt worse than if I had called a name. My summertime best friend and I found a half a pack of cigarettes and a lighter when I was probably 9 years old, we “smoked” them. (I use quotations because I’m positive we had no idea what we were doing and that nothing was actually inhaled. *facepalm*) Sophomore year, I had a drink of a wine cooler when a couple friends and I raided my mom’s refrigerator. And there were a handful of times I would say I was staying at my mom’s house just so I could stay out later. (Surprise, Grandma…… now you know I guess.)

That’s about the extent of my childhood rebellion.

My husband on the other hand, had a few (hundred) more instances than me. He wasn’t nice to some people. His extra curricular activities could have, should have, and occasionally did send him to jail. And bottom line, he absolutely did not care about anyone other than himself.

There is no part of me that wants the world to think I write out of the image of perfection. I’m not. We aren’t. My children aren’t.

But is it really our parental duty to sit back and watch as our children make mistakes just because we have regret and shame and lacked respect when we were kids? Or even that we are still making those decisions as adults? I don’t think it is. I think we owe it to our children, and other children too, to hold them accountable and want better for them than what we did or had. To give them grace because we too have faults, but not allow them or expect them to repeat those mistakes. It is not hypocritical to teach them to be better and do better than what we did. That’s parenting. It’s growing and teaching and loving and respecting. We are called to train them in the way they should go. NOT to take a backseat on a broken road just because we’ve been down it before.

This world lacks respect and has an abundance of negativity. And we can point fingers at video games and TV and other people all we want. But the truth of the matter is: that even though all of those may be factors, we as parents are the starting point.

If we want a better world, we have to be a better example to the young minds that hold the future.

I will be giving my boys extra encouragement in the coming days. Words of value that I hope sticks with them when stones are cast against them. And an expectation of kindness in every single hallway they walk and to every single face they see.

Not because they’re perfect, but because it’s cool to be kind and it’s okay to strive for better- even in times you don’t see it around you.

Choose kind. Spread love. Support positivity in our youth.

Posted by on Aug 20 2019. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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