Children really do learn what they see modeled, and I have proof. DIL Kelly, a skilled and compassionate social worker, decided to return to work for pay this year in the school system after enjoying being a stay-at-home mother for several years. I became the noontime preschool pickup and afternoon caregiver for four-year-old Owen who turned five in November. My assumption that I might be counting the days until school was out by May has not happened.
The last few days have had some changes in scheduling with end-of-school events and Owen finishing his preschool year before his mother and his kindergarten brother. As is her custom, Kelly had explained all this, the expected different pattern for next week, and the next year routine to him. He, in turn, related the changes to me as we worked in the yard. I could almost hear his mother’s voice in his lengthy explanation.
Finally, he said, “Now, you will miss me next year because I will be in kindergarten.” He paused to let that sink in before continuing, “But, don’t worry. I will have some days off, and I will come to see you then.” Not only has he learned to give the anticipated schedule, but if that schedule is likely to cause sadness, to add the mitigating pleasures.
Owen is right that I will miss him next year and that I will look forward to seeing him when he gets days off. With any luck, he will bring his brother as well. And while I have not marked off the days until school is out, I have definitely counted the number of days left to sit in the pick-up line at the preschool!