It occurred to me when my kids were in school that classrooms resemble cattle chutes. Kids are expected to file into class, find their desks, and be ready for a day of focusing and learning. And, let’s be honest, cattle chutes work. They are an effective way to move the herd from one place to another. UNLESS, you’re dealing with stray cows who refuse to get into the chute in the first place.
That described a couple of my kids.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I didn’t raise ill-mannered brats. I was a strict mama and my kids were taught to respect authority. No, it was more that they just didn’t fit in the chutes. Or, they were so busy chasing butterflies in their minds that they didn’t notice where the rest of the herd was going.
When you raise your kids to school-age without incident, it is quite a shock to hear that your child is having issues in class. In fact, it is heartbreaking. And, despite our best efforts, we mommies immediately assume that we’ve done something wrong. I never should have eaten all that chocolate while pregnant. I should have breastfed longer. Why didn’t I lock the TV onto an educational channel and leave it there?
It immediately flies out of our minds that perhaps God created our children this way for a reason.
Because, in order for your child to float through school without drawing any undue attention, they need to be average. In every way. That makes the teacher’s job easier and let’s face it yours too.
But, is that really what you want?
OK, I’ll be completely honest here and answer: YES! That is what I wanted!
I wanted kids who headed off to school happily, ready to listen and learn. I would have accepted average in a heartbeat. I would have PAID for average.
It is only now, that I have these amazing adult “kids” who are tenacious and smart, and creative and make me proud every day, that I can say, “Thank you, God, for making them just like this.”
But, I couldn’t say that while they were in school.
Because, having kids who don’t fit in the cattle chute is tough. REALLY tough.
We paid money we couldn’t afford to have testing done to see why they couldn’t fit in the chute. We tried medications (some helped, some were horrible). We tried public schools, private schools, alternative schools, homeschooling, tutors, counselors and learning specialists.
There were years I had to peel sobbing children off of my legs every single morning and then drive to work while my heart broke. Because, here’s the thing about kids who learn a different way, they’re smart. Really smart. Smart enough to know that all their friends are in the chute and they’re not. Smart enough to know when they fall behind. So smart that their brains have already wandered onto twenty other subjects while the teacher is trying to explain the first lesson of the day.
And, while we’re on the subject, you will find that those teachers who find your wandering strays delightful are very rare. And, the teachers who just want them to get in the darn chute are everywhere (and, I can’t blame them for that).
So, I offer you no clichés. Because this will be hard. Maybe the hardest thing you’ve ever done.
But, I will tell you this:
Your children are not broken.
Experts will tell you that they are, but they’re not. They’re perfectly unique and wonderful just the way they are.
And, maybe, just maybe, God created them that way on purpose.