Saturday, December 20, 2008

In Parenting, Things Are Not Always What They Seem

When my youngest son was in kindergarten, I got a worrisome call from his kindergarten teacher, who had become quite concerned about his mental health. When I learned that she was inviting the principal to join the meeting she wanted to schedule, I became quite concerned, too.

I arrived in the classroom only to be shown a picture my son had drawn, at her request, of himself. He had created a pretty reasonable facsimile, as had the other children. The only difference was this:  After drawing the picture, he had taken a black crayon and scribbled all over it, as dark as he could. He had basically crossed himself out.

I don't think I need to tell you this was not a good thing. I'd seen no sign at all of the depression (or worse) that his teacher and the principal were talking about, and I just couldn't wrap my head around the idea. The whole thing was disturbing, though, and when I got home, I asked my little boy why he had taken a black crayon and scribbled all over the self-portrait he had drawn. His answer surprised me.

"I want to be black, like Michael Cooper," he answered matter-of-factly. (Michael Cooper was his then-favorite basketball player on the Lakers.) In other words, his "depression" was actually hero worship!

I tell this story for two reasons. One, because it's kinda funny. His answer really tickled me at the time, and I think the teacher was pretty amused too...well, equal parts of relieved and amused.

Anyway, the second reason I tell this story is because it's a good one for moms/parents to hear. Things are not always what they seem, and while it's important to investigate any red flags or warning bells that we see (or hear of) in regard to our children, it's also best not to jump to conclusions. Sometimes there are logical explanations for seemingly illogical things.

Just something to think about vis a vis the parenting process...

1 comment:

Natalie said...

Thank you once again for your wisdom. There are countless things to worry about, so it is a tremendous relief to know that not everything is an issue waiting to be addressed. Thanks for an awesome post! :)

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