Several months back Caidin was repeatedly getting in trouble in school. Not capital ‘T’ trouble, mind you, but he was being asked to leave meeting or being spoken to by at least one teacher every day.
He would get in the car and have that hangdog mopey look that I knew meant the day didn’t go well. I’d ask him what happened, he’d tell me he got asked to leave meeting and I’d ask why. His response was always similar ‘I was talking.’ He and I worked on ways for him to gain control of, what is admittedly at times, an overwhelming ability to talk.
But as the days rolled on, I started to get the sense that something wasn’t right. I didn’t feel like I had the whole picture. I decided the next time he told me that he was asked to leave meeting, that I would dig a little deeper.
I picked Caidin up from school and as we walked out of the building I said “How was your day?” “Not great,” with the hangdog mopey look, was his response. I waited until we were in the car and I said ‘I’m sorry you had a bad day. Can you tell me more about what happens when you get asked to leave meeting?’ Turns out, although there were times when he was just talking, the majority of the times he was trying to defend himself. For whatever reason kids love to poke and nudge Caidin, not because they want to be mean to him, but they just like to. I can’t tell you how many videos of school performances I have where someone next to him or behind him is nudging him or poking him and I don’t see that with the other kids. As soon as he said this I realized that he was being corrected for standing up for himself and that was not ok.
I felt bad that it had taken me several days to put the pieces together, but of course it wasn’t about me. My challenge was to find a way to help Caidin resolve this. I started by saying that I was sorry and then digging even deeper. Had you told your teacher? (Who is wonderful by-the-way.) Were the other kids being asked to leave meeting as well? What happens when you speak-up? In the hustle and bustle of the day, Caidin was being corrected for what looked like random talking during meeting (or music or drama) but he was actually standing up for himself and the other kid or kids were not being addressed. In fact, no one even recognized that this was going on.
Caidin didn’t want me to talk to his teacher, he wanted to try and resolve it himself. So we came up with a few strategies and he set off to see what he could do. After a few more days of hang-dogged mopey, I intervened and said ‘I think you need to sit down and talk to your teacher about this. I can be with you if you’d like.’ ‘Yes, Mom, that would be good.’
Off we went to school. I let Caidin take the lead, asking his teacher for a time to talk. She put everything aside and we talked right there. At first Caidin tried to explain to her what was going on, and she didn’t really get it, so I stepped in and explained in a little more detail that it was actually Caidin who needed support in meeting as he was trying to stop the kids from bothering him. Then it was clear. She completely understood what I was saying and I went a step further and asked her to please let the specialty teachers know as well, as this happens in their classrooms too.
Caidin’s teacher is wonderful and wonderfully aware. The fact that she didn’t see this got me thinking and looking at where this happens quite frequently in our lives. We stand up for ourselves or something we believe in and we are then punished or attacked or accused. And it starts when we are little. Just thinking back to my own childhood, I can remember the smirky look on my brother’s face when he’d provoke me to react and I’d get in trouble because of it. I don’t have to go that far back either, this happened to me the other day at the Post Office. The clerk is always really rude, and I finally decided to say something. I simply said to her ‘every time I come in, you and I have this dynamic and I don’t like it.’ By the time I left I was being yelled at by a customer for the way I was talking to the clerk. HUH?
It must be human nature to respond or react to the one who is speaking out, but it is unconscious human nature and we can all put this on our list for living life consciously – before reacting to a situation, be sure to find out exactly what’s going on. If you do react out of human nature, take some time to re-evaluate afterward and make corrections when needed.
I do believe if we all take this into account, we can start to turn the tide on this particular unconscious human nature.
I’d love to know where you see or have seen this in your life or in the world. Once I started looking there was no shortage of examples.
© 2012 Christine Agro
Christine Agro is a clairvoyant, naturopath, Master Herbalist, conscious mom and author of 50 Ways to Live Life Consciously as well as of The Conscious Living Wisdom Cards (Special Moms’ Edition). Christine is founder of The Conscious Mom’s Guide, a membership site where she helps support you on your own journey of living life consciously and on your journey of being a Conscious parent. You can also join Christine on Facebook. To contact Christine or to schedule an appointment with her please email her.