During one elementary school social studies class we often read pages from our textbook aloud. Each student took turns reading one paragraph, and I always counted ahead to see which paragraph would be mine. I breathed a sigh of relief if it didn't have the word "rural" in it, and I lamented my fate if it did. That word was impossible to pronounce.
As a child I disliked wearing a hat during winter because I thought I looked goofy.
In early middle school I habitually complimented a popular girl who lived in my neighborhood while we stood at the bus stop. Depending on the day I told her that I liked her shoes, her jacket, her outfit, or her hair. And daily, I immediately chided myself for my striving when she thanked me coolly.
These crises seem insignificant now that I face problems of adulthood . But as a child, these issues were the stuff of journal entries, the concerns of my heart. They were very real.
I think of this on the day when my daughter tells me that she and Emma didn't get along during the bus ride home, or when she voices her disappointment that the kids in Mrs. Bryant's class cheated during gym class.
Those issues may be small to me, but they're not to her. I can't jump in with quick fixes or pat answers. But I can listen. And if and when it's time to speak, I can respond as someone who remembers what it's like.
Let's remember how it felt to be 6 or 8 or 11 years old today. Let's listen from their level.