Thursday, 14 April 2011
My daughter is in her first term of school as a reception kiddy (or prep if you're in Vic). She is attending a lovely small - medium sized metropolitan public school which is only five houses away from home and has two wonderful teachers who job share.
She is fortunate enough to have a good selection of family backgrounds in her class. Some families have an Indian background, others Asian, others high or low income. What a fabulous opportunity for her to mix with all sorts of children from such a variety of backgrounds!
One friendship that my daughter has made has been challenging my parenting and social beliefs and I'm really grateful for it. My daughter has made friends with a child in her class who has quite obvious behavioural challenges which result in frequent outbursts in class and disruptive behaviour. This child doesn't seem to be able to make friends easily, is on the outer in the social groups in the class and often comes to school quite dishevelled.
I have been so lucky to witness, whilst I'm in the classroom reading or helping out, my daughter take this boy by the hand and help him clear out his work tray. Or take his hand and keep him on track at the back of the line on the way to the library. Or play with him in the playground when none of the other children will.
All sorts of crazy thoughts have been bubbling up since I've known she has made this friendship. Has she any other friends? Is she mixing with the wrong sort of kids? Will she get labelled if she hangs out with this child? Just the protective tiger mummy coming out in me there. Of course she has lots of friends in the class and plays with them quite often.
Most ridiculous of all is "Oh no!! She's a rescuer!! She'll be forever chasing men in her adult life that need saving!!". How absurd! Sure, I'll gently guide her if she starts to make such choices.
But this childhood friendship is different. This is a case of my daughter seeing someone who needs a friend. A pal. Some stability in their every day life. And she so willingly gives her friendship and her hand that I feel very proud of her.
We could all learn something from my five year old....