Take the time to say, ‘I care about you’

Regardless of the day school starts, our back-to-school traditions remain the same: making fruit and snacks ready for lunch, buying new shoes and clothes, assembling school supplies, and printing bus routes and class schedules . Before Calvin waits with Nia and Layla each morning at their bus stops, we make sure they’ve eaten, look presentable, and have their masks ready, and offer them well, hoping they have a safe and successful day.

What may be more difficult to do as we move through the vortex of our daily life is to consciously control each other’s guts, so to speak. Within our living spaces and our inner circles, are we making sure to lift those who matter to us?

One day last week, Layla came back from school, dropped her backpack, and after showing her sister and me the latest moves she practiced in gymnastics, she said one of her teachers insisted on a daily practice first. of the start of classes which is “so annoying.” When I asked for the details, our eighth grade student said, “Have everyone get up from their desks and repeat after her, ‘I am loved’ and ‘I am seen.’ It makes no sense!”

I raised my hand to stop his outburst. “Layla, I actually think it’s a good idea. Start the lesson on a positive note, right? “

“I believe?” she said.

Parenting is an ever-changing process

I wanted to help her frame the morning ritual in a different way. “OK, boo, try looking at it this way: some kids may not hear nice things from adults in their life first thing in the morning. There are some who may not hear them at all. They probably won’t say it out loud or even admit it. to themselves, but some of your classmates may need that kind of reminder. “

“Maybe,” he said.

It will take Layla some time to process this information, just as it can still be difficult for us adults to do.

When I was her age, I thought the adult process was linear: going through puberty, being educated, supporting yourself and going from there. Now that I’m older, hindsight and experience have taught me that there are endless mazes and rabbit holes to navigate along the way: the unspoken “lowercase” of life.

We crave friendships and relationships, for example, but once we find them, do we always know how to keep them? In these pandemic-framed times, beyond FaceTime calls, are we asking our friends where they are in life or if they need anything? For us couples, do we still send those cute messages, buy the goodies they love, or just give them that partner-patented smile when they arrive, letting them know you’re happy they’re around?

We all understand (hopefully?) That a well-running car won’t stay that way if we don’t use the right gas or have the oil changed, but some don’t see their loved ones requiring the same one-on-one care.

I didn’t reveal it to Layla at the time, but being the oldest of four, I sometimes didn’t feel seen or heard when my brothers and sisters showed up, beyond the commands related to chores, grades and service babysitter. This is probably why I was drawn to journalism; writing satisfied the need to be related and understood. A way to create dialogue with others and express myself. Part of parenting, at least as I see it, is nurturing and affirming the souls of our children as well.

Does that mean we don’t worry children about dripping taps, unmade beds, questionable purchases and dishes left in the sink? Sure we do. But we also listen to them, often reminding them how precious they are and that they are loved. Every child needs that lesson inside And outside the classroom.

Lorrie Irby Jackson is a Briefing columnist. Email her at [email protected].

Women expect better from men

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