He sat before me and I watched as his face got tight. His nose scrunched. His lips pressed together as he tried to hold back the angry tears. There would be no stickers, no hope of Lego time, no celebration. I watched, I shared in his anger. I thought I had clearly explained the book bag, the reading log. As I watched the tears fall, I knew I had to call again. He deserved more.
I found a few free minutes. I dialed hoping for a voice to answer. No such luck. I went ahead and left the message clarifying that the book bag had to come back to school each day. I added that he really wants to celebrate his reading and that their help at home would be fabulous. I hung up and prayed that the message would be heard.
I walked into his room the next day. He was sitting at his table sucking on his applesauce pouch. His eyes met mine. He pulled his snack out of his mouth, swallowed, smiled, raised his arms and proclaimed “I GOT IT IN MY BACKPACK!” “No way?” I questioned gleefully. I wanted to feed his pride, his excitement. “Really, it’s in my bag!” His teacher and I exchanged a satisfactory grin.
He sat before and I watched as he pulled out his book, his snap word ring and his letter ring. He reached in one more time and pulled out his reading log. “WOOO! Looks like you’ve been reading at home! Let’s celebrate, buddy! You get to put 5 smile stickers on! I’m so glad you and mom worked together to bring your bag back.” I looked right into his eyes, no longer angry and tearful but shining bright and satisfied. Proud.
I found a few free minutes, again. I was hoping again for a voice to answer. “Hello.” A kind voice answered. I spent the next few minutes sharing the story and celebrating with his mom. “Thank you. Thank you.” I said. “Thank you for helping. Your support with reading and the routine of the book bag is so important. I can’t thank you enough.” “Well, thank you.” she said in return. I could hear the pride in her voice. Pride that she was seeing her child as not just a kindergartener, but a growing reader.
Hearing her pride was a reminder that sometimes, parents, need our guidance, our feedback, too.