Friday, March 16, 2012

A Memory with a Message

When one of my sons was in kindergarten, I received a troubling call from his kindergarten teacher, who was expressing concern about his mental health. After learning that she was inviting the principal to join the meeting she wanted to schedule, I became concerned as well.

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.

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...

16 comments:

jen said...

Love this story. I'm glad the teacher was concerned, but assuming the worst without further questioning led to a lot of alarmed people. If she had just asked him . . .

Gail said...

Wonderful story. Wonderful lesson, if in doubt, ask.

Wander said...

This was a very nice read Sue.
just because I write a lot pain full material on my site dosent mean that life was all bad, so it is nice to read calm things sometimes...

Wander

anitamombanita said...

That's one part hilarious and one part insightful, to be sure. Great story. Great message.

Emille said...

You are a good parent, Sue! never assume...:)

Grandma Honey said...

You could probably use this story in a talk someday to draw an analogy!

I had a similar experience with my 2nd son. He was in 2nd grade and his teacher called me because he had written a disturbing story. After reading it I thought....hmmm this sounds exactly like the plot line to General Hospital. His Dad had been home for a few weeks at the time recovery from injuries from a robbery at his store...and had taken up watching GH every afternoon. Once we solved the mystery, that program went off for good.

Dixie Mom said...

What a great memory! Of course, that makes perfect sense to me too. It was about basketball! I think sometimes we do get worked up over things.

Darlene said...

I remember when this happened. To him, it seemed perfectly logical. If you think about it, it truly was. Hero worship is a good thing. We all need to have someone to look up to and try to emulate.

LeAnn said...

This was a very good post. It is always good to be on the same page. This was a great story for that. What a wonderful lesson.

karen said...

Good reminder to take a breath before you panic and ask a few questions. Sometimes the things kids get into their heads are both funny AND a relief!

Polly Janos said...

"Things are not always as they seem"

A lesson hard learned, but necessary to be reminded of, on a daily basis, as I continue The Journey I started 17 months ago.

I love your wonderful example.

Pondside said...

We both had parenting on the mind today, it seems.
I remember being told that my son had poor small motor skills and might need some OT. I was puzzled, as this was the boy who could build anything from Lego. It turned out that the teacher equated small motor skills with the ability to use scissors and our son had absolutely NO interest in cutting and pasting.

Wendy said...

Awesome! Good Mommy for not flipping out on your little boy!

Brian Miller said...

mmm true that...we have to really take the time to understand their perspective instead of assuming...


def worth asking the questions and having those convos though

Karen Mortensen said...

Very well put. I am glad you asked him about it first.

Cherie said...

That is truly a cute story and I think things like that happen more often than people think.
Parents definately need to take the time to listen and ask their children questions.
You are a good mom!

Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved | Design by Custom Blog Designs/FreeStyleMama Creations