If you have children of a school going age, today would have been a tough day for most of them and a relief for most parents as school holidays came to an end and the school year started again. For those of us with grown children I'm sure you can still remember those days. In our house, our boys started Grade 1 and Grade 3 respectively. Grade 1 is a tough start for most kids as the routine, discipline and work load is a lot to deal with when you only have between 6 and 7 years life experience.
So this morning after 6 weeks off, trying to get the guys ready for school took some convincing. Promises of ice-cream after school as well as a braai for supper (this is more for my sanity than anything else) seemed to fall on deaf ears as trying to get the little guys focused was tough. Lake (grade 3) kept saying he is scared and didn't want to go to school. Kai (grade 1) is more stoic in nature. He's unease manifests like mine does. A sullen quiet, without much talking.
The more I tried to reassure them that there was nothing to be scared about the more resistance I came across. My approach wasn't working. Time to reassess my game plan. I told Lake that it's ok to be scared. Life can be scary sometimes. I'm scared most days when people come into clinic that I might not be able to help them. I'm scared that I'm messing up as a parent, husband and in the decisions I take in life. I acknowledged what he was feeling and tried to show him that even I (the guy with almost 40 :) years of life experience) feels fear every day. To be fair I live in Joburg with just a palisade fence around my property so I feel it most nights as well.
He softened in his resistant body language and reluctantly started getting dressed. I breathed a sigh of relief as Kai followed the actions of his older brother. Dropping him off was no problem at all. No tears. No fighting. No resistance. Kai on the other hand cried. It was tough on Candice and myself. I cried inside and had flashbacks of my first day starting school. It was tough leaving him but I knew it was a necessary lesson.
You see the fear doesn't go away. It's always there whispering its lies and limiting us. We decide to do or face something or we don't. Our decision to act kills fear not the decision to not feel fear. You are going to feel fear always but you've got to do whatever anyway. I'm always weary of people who say they don't feel fear. My answer to that normally is, I can show you a dysregulated nervous system that is so unaware of itself.
I took a break in writing the newsletter today to fetch Kai and Lake from school. Kai came out smiling. He had had the most amazing day. Despite the rough start, despite tears and despite his fears he had overcome a tough day. It's a small victory in the context of his life but in choosing to act a certain way he came to realize the liar that fear is.