Home > Family, Learning, Parenting > First grade, first week

First grade, first week

Graduating kindergarten, a couple months ago

Graduating kindergarten, a couple months ago

My five-year-old just finished his first week as a first grader.

He knows his mama doesn’t believe in bad people, just bad acts. When I chastise our dog, he says, “But he’s good! It’s just the act that wasn’t good, right? He’s still good.”

All the same, my little man finished his first week with the proclamation, “It was good! I’m a good boy!”

My faith isn’t as firm as his papa’s. It varies day by day, and sometimes minute by minute.

When Li’l D asked religious questions this week, I wanted to say, “It’s all mythology!”

Instead I said, “These are great questions. Let’s answer them together,

in the weeks ahead!”

  1. Deb
    August 28, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    Is he in a private school? Maybe I missed something in one of your posts? Or is this just conversations with other kids? No matter what inspired these questions, I love your answer, and your willingness to allow him to explore and eventually come to his own conclusions. It’s way to easy to impose our beliefs in non-belief (if that’s where we associate our stance) or even the other way around, trying to demand that our kids believe if they prefer not to. I’m anxious to read about how you move through these explorations in the weeks to come.

    • August 28, 2015 at 5:39 pm

      D was just too young to enter 1st grade in California public schools, so we had to look for a private school that would accept him into 1st grade. His teacher was adamant that he needed to be in first grade, and we agreed–based on indicators what first graders are learning. (We hadn’t known which way it would swing just a couple months before he graduated kindergarten, but he had a huge brain explosion and everything became clear.)

      We visited a few religious schools. One seemed to be a great option until the last couple of days we interacted with them, when we found evidence of some pretty uncomfortable deeds, the kind that’d make it hard to trust a five-year-old to their care.

      Then there was a Catholic school near us that seemed very, very receptive to a young critical thinker with a big, big heart. I minimized the “Catholic” aspect of things until this week, when D reported that church was very, very sad and A said he wanted to maybe take him to Protestant services to show him the lighter side of things.

      At the end of the first week, I do believe we made the right choice … though there are definitely some complex conversations to flow from it! (I already had to explain my take on Hell, a horribly human concept with which D wasn’t even acquainted before this week.)

      I want him to know that there are many beliefs, and that we’ll support whatever conclusion he lands on, regardless of what either of us believes. 🙂

      • Deb
        August 28, 2015 at 6:50 pm

        I still remember being exposed to various Catholic services/masses, etc as a child being asked along with neighbor kids. I had no clue then and felt very unsure how or if I was supposed to participate in many of their rituals and no one ever bothered to explain any of it to me so…Yay for you and A with this challenge and with your commitment to exposing D to varied religious viewpoints.

  2. August 28, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    I agree and that is a hard topic with kids and their exposure to other kids views. One hand I don’t want to sway them from finding their truth but at the same time other people aren’t so courteous and I feel they need some natural skepticism.

  3. August 28, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    I say approach everything with positivity and open mindedness. Whatever he bring to the table, say “That’s one way at looking at things, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but here are a few other ways that have worked for many other people…(ie: Hinduism, Agnosticism, Buddhism, Islam, Atheism, Scientology, Universalism.) The list goes on and on indefinitely. And if none of those seems to work for you, invent your own!

    • August 28, 2015 at 5:59 pm

      I like your take! That’s what I’ll be striving for, though I’ll undoubtedly miss the mark here and there. 🙂

      • August 28, 2015 at 6:02 pm

        Missing the mark is the best you can hope for, because he has to make his own choices. But you will have given him something to think about, and that’s all that matters.

  4. August 28, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    My niece, who lives in TX, just started her daughter in a Catholic school, and she was horribly uncomfortable with the idea. Until she realized that the school was GREAT and that it was the right option for her daughter. She is an episcopalian. things are going well for them. I hope you will find the same.

    Oh, and my great-niece’s Religon teacher? Her name is (and I’m not making this up, “Mrs. Burns” — we had a great laugh over the idea that Mrs. Burns was going to teach about burning in hell.

    And you really never know how things will work out.

    My son was doing terribly in public high school, and we knew we needed to pull him out and put him into private. He had, in the back of his mind, the idea that he’s just drop out of HS and join the military. So he opted to go to military school (a very long story). MY KID WENT TO A MILITARY BOARDING SCHOOL! As it turns out, he did well, got into (and finished college) and decided that he didn’t ever want to go into the military because he didn’t like folks dumber than him making decisions over him.

    Things work out. Sometimes in the most unexpected ways.

    • August 29, 2015 at 5:55 am

      The Mrs. Burns thing has me giggling. That’s perfect! As is reading about your son’s path. Rockin’. 🙂

      I felt nervous starting a new school after how our last shot at a new school went. But I also recalled how, with some love and care, D bounced back after a few months with Miss A. If this doesn’t end up being right, I trust us to find something better … but I really did have the feeling it was going to be a great fit on Monday. I think D’s shifted into a mode where he’ll absorb new knowledge and perspectives with even a little prodding, so the most important thing to me was to find a place that’d be emotionally supportive.

      Anthony actually went to Catholic school, which helps me also feel pretty positive about this since he describes those days so fondly. I remember him saying something like, “I learned how to separate what I was supposed to say in certain circumstances with what I really believed.”

      I suspect there’ll be merit in the many things D learns along this road. I’m excited to walk it alongside him!

  5. August 28, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    Well done! And I like what you’re saying about bad people vs bad actions!

    • August 29, 2015 at 5:55 am

      I can’t remember where I first read about distinguishing the two, but it’s stuck with me!

  6. August 28, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    Sounds like you did a great job answering the awkward question and navigating your way through the whole choosing a school minefield. While you hear about the trouble parents of special needs ids have, you don’t often hear about the complications of having a bright, gifted or otherwise enlightened child. Our daughter is quite challenging in this way and this also bring up the trouble of dealing with the sibling who is doing well but not in the same way. My daughter’s processing speed was in the gifted range and I really feel it some days when my processor gets jammed. The coffee isn’t working and I’m being left behind xx Rowena

    • August 29, 2015 at 6:02 am

      “The coffee isn’t working and I’m left behind” — This is the best analogy for me at the moment! I’m on my sixth day sans coffee, and this is how everything feels right now. It’s not as bad as it was the first couple of days, but I’m still moving slower and with less focus.

      So, yes … this is a feeling I relate to now, and suspect I’ll become accustomed to as Li’l D grows. 🙂

      I wonder sometimes what things will be like with Littler J. I’m curious to see. I recall many people telling me not to compare kids, but comparison is inevitable. The first child is what you know, for better or worse. D was already talking up a storm by 17 months, so J’s comparative silence felt ominous until doctors and teachers pointed out that J’s exactly where he’s supposed to be. Having that conversation (a few times, cough) helps me feel more comfortable with where J is at instead of wondering why he’s not where D was.

      Also, it’s allowed me to really appreciate some of the things J does that D wasn’t as interested in. J has moves! We’re going to be signing him up in dance/gymnastics classes because, wow, if a 17-month-old is already autonomously busting his kinds of moves, that’s something we’d love to help him grow into.

      Thanks for the encouragement! ♥

      • August 29, 2015 at 11:03 am

        I believe you made the right choice with your son’s education. Catholic schools beside teaching religion teach children good manners, how to respect others and whether its Catholic or just being a good Christian is something your son will have as a good base his whole life which will help him through good time and difficult time.

  7. August 29, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    Navigating the religious stuff can be tricky indeed. We considered sending LM to a private school (before he got into the charter school), but the one in our area is a Christian school and is super conservative, as we discovered. We identify as Christians, but we don’t want him learning that brand of Christianity.

    I’m glad he had a good first week at school!

    • September 3, 2015 at 5:03 am

      The first school we visited with D was Christian and seemed really lovely … until a couple of suspect live conversations, which seemed downright premonitory after finding some news articles in which the principal both circumvented accountability for a serious offense in the same vernacular my dad would have used. Reading those articles made me all the gladder for the much different vernacular at D’s Catholic school, which he loves more by the day. 🙂

  8. cardamone5
    August 29, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    What a cutie, and how lucky you both are to have each other.

  9. August 30, 2015 at 3:40 am

    It is sometimes difficult to navigate. My non-belief didn’t prevent me from introducing my sons to a broad range of belief systems as they grew and matured. My library contains everything and they read them all over time. Their other mother was at first very uncomfortable with my strategy, she is atheist where I am simply Deist. Overtime she realized allowing them access, giving them the means to ask questions and exposing them to the entire spectrum of what the world offers was a far better choice.

    Questioning minds are a wonderful thing, aren’t they?

    • August 30, 2015 at 4:38 am

      I perceive potentially vast differences between introduction (for a five-year-old, brief exposure and conversation as questions arise rolling through life) and inundation (35+hours a week exposure to one given way). Yet I know being raised Christian–not the hellfire and brimstone kind touted for political benefit, but Jesus-inspired love of others as they come–was a positive thing for me, as was Catholic school for Anthony.

      For D, the introduction and the inundation will happen side by side. Having seen the fond and patient smiles of those sharing with him their love/faith, it’ll all be part of D’s own love someday. That’s a great thing. 🙂

  10. August 30, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    Aw first grade is such a big moment! Your little guy is so adorable, hope his year goes smoothly!

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