Boy Gets Wings!

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I had a great teacher conference this fall. My third-grade son has a marvelous teacher this year, one who has seen it all, worked in administration, taught in college and in numerous other grades … but she has chosen this year to teach in 3rd. “I love third graders!,” she sang to me and I believed her. She is filled with the kind of wisdom that excellent teachers have plus a lot of humor and patience. We agreed that being 9 years old is being in the “heart” of childhood. You are on the brink of the first double digit ages, but not there yet, meanwhile you can do so much more than ever before.

You can, she told me, be responsible for yourself.

Pause. She did that so well. She made me realize without saying it flat out, that my son should be better at doing things on his own without having to be told. In one simple sentence aptly put she let me know that my boy needs improvement in focusing. I appreciate her tactfulness.

I think on my third grader and realize that he’s not so little anymore, after all, and it’s time for me to empower him more — and time to stop babying him. Maybe because he’s my last … and because I am holding onto that sweetness that little children bring into your home … maybe that’s why he’s been a bit … detained. By me.

Yes, me. The thing is, most of the time the things our children are going through is related to us, good or bad. Especially when they are young.

So here and now, on this page, with these words, I am changing. I am setting this little boy free — so that he can take responsibility for all that he does and is. For his room and his things, for his school backpack and his sports things … and everything else that his older brothers are already responsible for.

It is his time. He’s just turned 9 and he is getting a set of wings. I’m going to tell him so, too. And we’ll see what happens at the next teacher conference. I am hoping he will fly straight once he takes off!

Susan Day is editor-in-chief of Cincinnati Family Magazine and a mother of four.

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