Tuesday, September 27, 2011

It Takes a Village Part 3

I wrote a couple of posts about our battle with a negative school situation that David was in and our very difficult decision to pull him out of Grade 6 early.  We went through a process of applying, being  denied, appealing and finally getting him into a new school in our neighbourhood. 

David was very anxious about this change.  It is hard to change in Grade 7. 

Over the Summer he started to process all that had happened to him in Grade 6 (and it was heart breaking to hear him tell his therapist just how awful it was) and to face the coming changes.

Not only a new school but also getting to and from school by bike or on foot and being alone at home for short spans of time......

Over the Summer Allan biked the route with him and then he practised the route almost daily for a few weeks. We talked alot about strategies for getting ready and managing his stuff.....as well as about his concerns and anxieties.

As I recounted on my blog here the first day was definitely harder on me than on him and I was proud of the way he handled himself.

Yesterday we met with his new teacher at his new school.  She said some very lovely things about him, in fact everything she said was pretty much the opposite of what were being told before....and although in our hearts we knew the truth about David, it was hard not to feel beaten down by all the negativity last year.  So while my heart sang to hear how lovely, kind, smart, mature and responsible he is it made me mad and sad again about the damage done to his self-esteem and our sense of him by adults who should have nurtured and protected him..... UGH!

Today I was in the school doing Early Warning and I saw him with his class in the adjacent community garden - they are doing a photo project - and he seemed so at ease and so happy and engaged - I got a cheery hello from him and his lovely teacher - I left with a very happy heart....this is the right place for my David.  Today my tears were happy ones!

I want to take a moment to thank each of you who played a role in David's transition to this safe, happy place..... it took a village, you did your part....and we, his parents, are forever grateful.

  • To my parents who rage when we do and cry when we do and cherish David for who he is.

  • To my sister and brother-in-law and Amy, Joshua, Jonathan, Erin, Michael and Zebby who welcomed him into their Alaskan tribe for 3 weeks and loved him - that adventure took so much of the sting out of the brutal end to the school year and he loved being part of the Gates Gang!

  • To all our church family who love David and make him feel loved week after week.

  • To Kelly who is such an empathetic and wise therapist - your help is invaluable and so timely.

  • To our Steveston friends who looked out for him when he was riding and when he started at school - knowing there are many adults watching out for him soothes my heart.
  • To everyone who prayed, sent good thoughts, had strategic conversations, made suggestions, made introductions, kept an eye on him, listened to me, gave me advice - honestly you all make me a better parent!
While some parts of the Village failed David badly, the majority, by far, have proved that Village cares about its kids.

We are so grateful our smart, funny, curious, kind boy is happy in school...... so very grateful indeed!

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