When my youngest son was in kindergarten, I got a phone call from his teacher expressing serious concerns about his mental health. Needless to say, finding out that the principal wanted a joint conference with the two of us aroused my concerns, too.
I arrived in the classroom only to be shown a picture my son had drawn of himself at the teacher's request. He'd 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. Basically, he had crossed himself out.
I don't think I need to tell you that the implications of this were not good. Still, I'd seen no signs of the depression (or worse) that his teacher and principal were suggesting, 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 used a black crayon to scribble 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 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...
for more K posts, click below