April Moments

Maybe, just maybe, telling the story is just as important as the story itself

Cars and kindness

After just one week in kindergarten, I have some thoughts. Actually, it’s Elliot who’s in kindergarten, not me. But, it’s new for both of us, so here goes.

The first couple mornings in the drop-off line, Elliot got so aggravated that we were just sitting there. Not moving. For like 10 minutes. “C’mon, let’s gooooo,” he whined impatiently. (I have no idea from whom he inherits his impatience!)

During our waiting adventures, though, I’ve noticed some parents breaking the rules. They park and (gasp!) walk their children into the building! Or, even worse, they get in the bus lane and try to cut in front of other parents who are patiently (or impatiently) waiting their turn! This morning, a woman driving a car with a California license plate (huh?) did just that. Yep, she got in the bus lane. The bus lane! Even Elliot piped up, “Why is that car in the bus lane?!”

“I don’t know, buddy,” I said. “Maybe some people still don’t know the rules.”

It is frustrating for me to see this rule breaking because I’ve always been a rule follower, ever since I was a kid. A current example is that I never take the service elevators at work because I’m not a service employee. I’ve seen some of my co-workers take them, and inside I gasp at their defiance.

Or, you know when you’re on the interstate and there is construction coming up? Signs say one lane is ending soon, so most people get into the lane that is staying open. But, of course, there are always those rebels who continue to drive in the lane that is closing. “Don’t think I am going to let you over in front of me!” I will ride close to the bumper of the car in front of me to ensure that none of those rule breakers can cut in front of me at the last moment before the merge.

So, I have to wonder, why aren’t these other parents following the rules? Did they not read the principal’s newsletter explaining the drop-off and pick-up procedures? Do they just like being rebellious? I have to admit, I felt vindicated this morning as I watched the traffic director stop Miss California. He approached her window and talked to her, gesturing and pointing. I imagined his words were, “You have to wait in the drop-off line. Using the bus lane is not allowed!” He then waved her around to the back of the building like everybody else.

For whatever reason, I don’t see as much chaos during the afternoon pick-up routine. At the kindergarten home visit, Elliot’s aide did tell me that parents start lining up their cars at 2:30. School lets out at 3:20. I guess these early birds just have to be the first parents out of the line.

I realize this is a sweeping generalization, but it seems most of the moms who drop off and pick up their children at Elliot’s school do not work outside the home. The bad thing about generalizations is that they always offend someone, even multiple people. However, because I am the exception to the aforementioned generalization, I’ve decided I’m allowed to make it. Even considering this stereotype, I have to wonder, how do even stay-at-home moms have an extra hour per day to devote to sitting in the pick-up line? I’d rather get there at 3:20 or 3:25 and wait my 15-20 minutes as the line creeps.

Do you see what the first week of kindergarten has done to me? I went from worrying about being called names for “doing it wrong” to being the one criticizing other parents! I promise, though, that I will never hang out the window and openly disapprove. I will always do so inside my car, windows closed, so the offender will not know I’m saying, “What’s this person doing? How dare she get out of the car!”

Speaking of criticizing, kindergarten is tough. Elliot has already had his heart broken by a female classmate who told him she didn’t want to play with him on the playground. One of my co-workers, whose son also started kindergarten last week, instructed her 5-year-old to brush off any such comments and respond, “Fine with me!”

I shared this piece of advice with Elliot and instructed him to play with all the children in his class, not just a select group. I also reassured him that no matter what happens at school – no matter who turns him down at play time or what anyone says – he is loved at home. Loved with the fiercest earthly love imaginable.

With this in mind, I decided to take Glennon Melton’s advice and personalize her Adam letter for Elliot. If you’ve not read it and shared this lesson with your school-aged children, please do.

In light of Glennon’s message of kindness, I hereby promise to be more patient when I’m waiting in the drop-off and pick-up lines!

Originally published on ovparent.com.

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