That Takes Time (Leo the Late Bloomer)

I’m writing this from the parents’ lens, but read till the end, your teacher connection is right there. 

I had lunch with a kindergarten teacher. We taught next door to each other for 23 years. We called ourselves sisters from different parents. Both born a month apart, both in Germany. The reasons for our birth places quite different; she the child of a dad who was  in Germany, employed by our government after the war and I the daughter of survivors. We have always been kindred spirits and our dedication to teaching keeps us close to this day. But mostly we enjoy each other’s company. When we meet we have so much to catch up, reminiscing about teaching kinders and inevitably we talk about our families and grandkids. Today’s conversation lead to an epiphany, another a-ha moment as we shared where our grandkids were in their school life. And then like a flash I thought of Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus, illustrated by Jose Aruego. Like Leo’s dad, we all worry about our kids;

how they measure up to our definition of “on target” development. We wait and wait, cajole, encourage, prompt and worry. And then it becomes “their” time to reach those milestones (generalizing to get to school): they play, crawl, walk, talk, scribble, draw, write, count and read. And we sigh with relief as they hit those “markers.” But then we’re not done, we compare. Where does my kid fit in with their peers? That one knows what they want to be. That one’s so passionate about (you choose). That one’s an artist, for sure! That one’s athleticism will get them far. That one’s a thinker. That one’s a doer. And you wonder about yours. How often do we get to lazy, unmotivated, spoiled, pampered? How often do we hear we have to get them to shape up. Life is not a joy ride!

And to this I would say WHOA! Take it easy. Look at them with an open mind and heart. Things take time. They have the foundation, you’ve given them that. You’re their role model. And things take time. They’re all different. What they need is for you to believe in them and that they’ll get there. They will bloom. That takes time.

And now from my seat at the table as a teacher, how empowering is it for these kids when we remember, there are often many “late bloomers” that come into our classroom. They’re not cookie cutters. They’re all different in their interests and abilities. There strengths and needs vary. They’ll put you to the test many times. Build those relationships, find a connection. Enjoy them, cherish them, be their champion! Make that commitment. That’s what we do with “all bloomers!”

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