Monday, September 9, 2013

What A Difference A Year Makes

Today I had one of those 'light bulb' moments, the kind that make you sit back and say, "Wow, I never thought of that before." I was speaking with a parent who was trying to make a difficult decision about which youth group at church to enroll her child in. Her child is the right age for one group, but has friends that are in a younger group. Her child was nervous and thought they might feel more comfortable in the one where they already knew some people. I told her I understood how difficult of a decision it was. I shared a situation with her that I'd experienced 13 years ago.

My daughter was then in preschool. Her teacher was required to give all of the students the Giselle test. I'm not sure if that is something that is still used today or not. Basically the test helped the teacher evaluate the student's skills and readiness to move up into kindergarten. I remember her telling me that my daughter placed high in every single category except for one. She had a high level of separation issues (she never wanted me out of her sight The teacher was concerned with her moving up into kindergarten because she was on the very young end of the age scale. So I did what every concerned parent would do - I asked questions like 'how many days a week would pre-kindergarten meet if I were to hold her back' and 'how many hours would she be gone in a day'. The teacher said, "Well, actually it's not any different. She'd go to school 3 hours a day, Monday through Friday." I stopped and thought about it and had a sort of light bulb moment. Wait ... let me get this straight. Her teacher was worried that my daughter couldn't handle being away from me 5 days a week, 3 hours a day for kindergarten BUT would be better placed if she went to pre-kindergarten 5 days a week, 3 hours a day? I went with my gut instinct and placed my daughter in kindergarten. Either way she was going to have to get used to me not being there. The parent laughed and said she'd think some more about her decision.

After I hung up the phone I had today's light bulb moment. My daughter is currently a new college freshman studying music education and pursuing her passions and dreams. But what would have happened if I'd held her back one year? Her entire plan for her future might have been different. My daughter started playing a musical instrument through her school when she was in the 4th grade. Ironically the year after she left her elementary school the district cut the strings program. She was in the LAST class to have it offered to them. In junior high she was in the LAST orchestra class before it was cut. In high school she was in the LAST orchestra class before it too was cut. It finally happened. There is no more orchestra or strings program of any kind in any grade in our school district. What a difference one year could have made for her. What would her college major look like now if things had happened differently? I have to believe she was meant to be in the LAST class. She was meant to withstand the challenges that faced her. She was meant to persevere. So now that she's living in her college dorm and attending all her music classes and playing in the university's chamber orchestra, who's having to adjust to the separation issues? Not her ... lol, but don't worry ... I'm doing much better this week than last week.

What was the last big decision you had to make? How did things turn out in the long run?

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