My son started kindergarten last week. It’s been a major week of transitions and emotions. After his first day of school, my son’s teacher sent home some homework for us to do together regarding how his first day went. It went something like this: I was brought to school by_____. The best part of my first day was _____. Etc, Etc, Etc. So, like a responsible mother, we sat down to complete this homework together. I asked him to fill in the blanks as I read it to him and I recorded his answers. When we got to the sentence that said: I felt _____ on my first day of kindergarten, he looked thoughtful for a moment.
Do you know what his answer was? “I felt FRAGILE on my first day of kindergarten.” Wow. Is that a loaded sentence or what? Now I’m not sure if he immediately understood what he had said. So I reminded him what the word fragile means. He decided to stick with it after I clarified and I can’t seem to get over what a perfect word he had chosen to describe his feelings on his first day of school.
This led to some great conversation around what it meant to feel fragile and I shared with my son times that I’ve felt fragile as well. Had he used a word that was a little more general, a little more expected for a 5 year old- I probably wouldn’t have taken the time to discuss this more with him. He could have said scared, even, and I would have validated his feelings and moved on. But fragile- that’s a whole different thing, isn’t it?
I’ve been feeling proud, since this moment, that my son is able to articulate his feelings so well. If not for his clarity, I may not have been able to give him the support that he needed around his feelings. As it was, I could talk with him about how it feels now- to know that he was feeling fragile but didn’t break, to know that he was stronger than he thought he was. And we could help him to grow from that experience. This would not have been the case had he not been clear about how he was feeling.
It’s important to teach our children to be able to speak to others about emotion. If you’ve read my other posts, you won’t be surprised to hear me say that the best way to do this is to practice this yourself. If your child hears you accurately describing your own emotion, they’ll likely catch on. Here’s some other resources to help out, though: