Maybe my job isn't so much to protect him as to offer him company in the dark.
Maybe my role isn't to make things easier but to be a kind shoulder to lean on when he's finding his way.
Maybe the part I play is more celebrator than mastermind of solutions.
Could it be that those tears aren't a sign of weakness as much as a show of a mind connected all the way down to his heart strings?
Could it be that deep down he has what it takes to find a way through?
This week Carter shocked us all by deciding he liked his new teacher after all. All on his own he discovered a point of shared interest, and all week long I watched these two pair up to find their own connecting points. By Friday, they had a knowing look pass between them, the way old friends smile at each other over an inside joke. Who would have guessed they had so many similar interests? Who would have guessed that common ground would have come so easily?
There's so many ways to explain this kind of thing to yourself as a mother. You could doubt your initial instincts that the teacher was not an ideal match. You could second guess your kid's reaction next time around. Either approach would work I suppose. But there's a third way, too, and that is for me to see Carter as incredibly resourceful and determined. He latched on the first thing to come up that was positive for him, and his teacher was sharp enough to see that he needed to connect with her--maybe even more so because she has the reputation for being a little bit bristly and not overly warm and fuzzy.
No matter what the real reason, I'm feeling happy for Carter, and a little bit in awe of how he overcame his tears and found a way to make it work. He was trying every bit as hard as his teacher to make a good connection. That's a specific kind of approach to problems that will serve him his whole life through, and I was delighted to watch it in action for the very first time.
Do you find it hard to watch your kids struggle like this? When do you decide to intervene? When do you let them work it out on their own? I'd love to hear your perspective in the comments below.