Friday, March 26, 2010

Mixed Feelings About School Programs

I admit I have some mixed feelings about school programs - like the kind of programs where children invite their parents and other family members to watch them sing and dance and do other activities. Don't get me wrong, I think it's great for kids to be involved - I loved having programs when I was in school. It always made me feel sort of special that my parents would come and watch us sing and perform, especially since we had put so much effort and practice into it.

It's a little different with Faith though. She'll come home from school singing the songs she is learning and talks excitedly about all she is doing at school right up until it is time for the actual program to take place. Then she doesn't want to go. But we go, hoping she'll be okay.

Last night was one of these events. The kindergartners were all putting on a "Rootin' Tootin' Hoot 'n Nanny event" that was going to be full of surprises for the parents and kids as well. And of course, Faith said she didn't want to go. And of course when we got there, the school lobby was filled with excited kids and their parents causing all sorts of commotion which made Faith sort of nervous. Then, because the elevator had gotten blocked off Rob had to carry her downstairs while I went out and around the building to bring her chair downstairs. Not a big deal, just something we weren't expecting - and Faith likes to know what to expect.

The first activity took place in one of the kindergarten classrooms where kids were to search through a bucket of paper hay to find "needles in a haystack" which were actually little sticks with words on them. Faith liked the "hay" but still looked a little anxious because of so many people being packed in one room. We went to the next room and the next and she still had the same nervous-looking expression on her face. No matter what we said or did we couldn't help her to relax. Then we got to take a ride in a pretend stagecoach and listen to a real-life cowboy talking about being a cowboy. Faith seemed to like that part and seemed a little more at ease.

After awhile it was time to venture back upstairs to the gym where all the kindergarten classes would be singing songs and doing a little circle dance. They put Faith off to the side of the bleachers, which as my friend Tina pointed out, it would be nice if they could have put her in the first row on the floor in the middle to make her look more included. As the kids sang their cute little songs, a part of me was happy that Faith could take part in all of this and that the adults clapping didn't seem to bother her as much as it once did. At the same time though, I was a little sad that she couldn't truly relax and be her happy little self and be singing the songs along with the other kids.

After it was all over, and we were able to meet up with her, she surprised us by saying, "I had really really fun at the program." It made me wonder, did she really? I think she liked being included with the other kids but I also think that her bout of nervousness causes her already tight muscles to tighten even more making it hard for her to relax. But maybe in her mind, in her world, she really did have a good time even though it was hard to tell on the outside. I pray that that she did.

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