Drumming in the school year

Last year, my son started kindergarten. I crafted a wish for him carefully – as if there were real power in those words I wrapped us in, and the clearer I was in my request of the universe, the more likely it was to come true. My hope was that he would come out of that year with some positive social skills and a genuine love of learning.

I just put him on the bus, an hour ago. He let me carry him in my arms down the driveway, and whisper into his neck how proud I am of him (and how fun it would be if I could shrink myself down to a tiny action figure and slip into his pocket and spend the day there, seeing how the day unfolds, only what if he accidentally left me in the bathroom, how terrifying that would be, the risk of slipping in a puddle and getting washed down the drain!) But when we heard the huff and lurch of the bus coming our way, he jumped down, straightened himself, put on his backpack and walked up to the bus, transformed instantly, from my baby, to grade 1’er.

As I walked back up the drive, to start my work day at my desk, I wondered, what wish should I cultivate for him this year? Today, everything will be new. New class, new teacher, new routines, new rules. There are so many desperate wishes in me – the ones that are a response to my own fears, my own experiences. It feels like a wish you want to be careful making – to make it bigger than your smallest fears. As Lil7watul Clara John and Barry Dan shared, in March, at a gathering I attended at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre about smudging and indigenous spirituality: when you pray, don’t ask for strength. If you do, Creator will give you a challenge. So ask for guidance, wisdom, compassion and love. Anything but strength.

Dan added, “Be specific in your prayers in what you ask for, and be patient. The answer might be around the corner, or it might take 30 years, and the journey in between is the answer.”

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So, this is the hope I wrap around my Small this year – that he finds himself in a safe space to be himself.

I can’t think of anything better for our kids, than that they might go every day to a place in which they feel completely safe to let their true selves shine.

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