Saturday, June 2, 2012

An Eye to Eye

I was recently at school volunteering for my FINAL Teacher and Lower School staff Appreciation Luncheon.  We were in the cleaning up stage of the luncheon when the Early Education Head Mistress asked to speak with me.

A million things flashed through my mind . . .

Had she read my blog about our youngest son not getting into his school of choice due to her decision?

Had she heard me say something and wanted to take issues with it?

Did she want to revisit what an excellent job our oldest had recently done on the School's promotional video? Excellent . . . I tell ya!

What could it be?

It was none of those.  She told me there had been an issue with our oldest son and she would like to speak with me.  She wanted to know when I would be done and could I meet her in her office. I am scared . . . the feeling of being in 2nd grade and getting called into the Principal's office comes flooding back . . . btw being called into Mr. Casada's office was because I had to leave early with a family emergency.

During the next 15 minutes I am trying to clear out all my volunteers.  I am attempting to get all my items done and my ducks in a row. I am hoping I can get everyone gone so I don't have to explain why I . . . at an age just slightly over 29 . . . I am being called into the Head Mistress's office.

I am anxious . . . mad . . . and most certainly embarrassed.

I am called back into the Head Master's office - in it was my son, two classmates and the Head Mistress of Early Education.  We are in the Lower School Head Master's office, he is out on jury duty.  There are two rocking chair type of chairs . . . but they don't rock, there is a two person leather sofa in burgundy.  Between the two set of seating is a small table.  Off to the west side of the room is a single chair, the north side of the room contains a L shape desk and there are probably 40 millions items that the Head Master has been given from children who have probably never seen his office! 

Why oh why . . .hadn't my son done some crazy art project and given it to the Head Master so we too wouldn't have to be here . . .

I am pointed to where I sit.  It is the single chair off to the side.

As I am sitting the Head Mistress tells one of the boys . . "Do not be afraid.  You can speak your mind.  What you say is safe.  Do not be intimated by Mrs. (me)."  I find this 1 - odd  2 - off putting  3 - making me worry even more.  Is my son slinging rock at school?  Is he running a prostitution ring? Did he cheat?  Did he assault someone?  Was he the head of an organized crime family at school? The way she said it and what she said made me worry . . . really worry about this.  WHAT could he have done?

I am STILL not sure what lead up to this meeting I have been so fortunate to participate in . . . the part where I came in . . . was where I learned my son had been rude and dismissive of his friends.  He told them to shut up.  Several times.

I cannot tell you what they were saying or doing for him to use those word. I can only say he was not making a good decision . . . he was not being a good friend . . .and he most certainly was being rude to his friends.

It seems he hurt the other boy's feelings so much that they went to class crying, this really messed up their morning.  Which was why we were having an Eye to Eye right then in the Head Master's office.

My son's school encourages dispute resolution in a calm non alarming way.  It is called an eye to eye!

What the Head Mistress didn't know at the time she called this eye to eye for the boys . . . was that my son and one of the boys had already called an eye to eye - he had apologized and his friend had been able to air his issues with my son.  Both of the boys had moved on . . . Both had felt heard and put the issue to rest.

AND . . . here we are again . . . rehashing the incident . . . mom included - totally non-alarming when mom is involved.

I applaud the school for providing the children a way to talk through issues without things escalating and it becoming physical, for allowing the children to settle their issues in a constructive manner. I know grown men who cannot do this . . . they would rather solve it with a baseball bat.

The school has taught these children how to voice their opinion, state how they felt and suggest a positive outcome.

All of the boys behaved well, were well spoken and addressed the issue.  And Bonus . . . they were able to resolve their issues with each other . . . AGAIN.  One of the other young men was so well spoken, convincing, and well thought out in what he wanted to say and the point he wanted to convey . . . I was impressed and that is not something that is easy to do considering our household is quiet skills in the verbal arena.

The boys agreed to put this behind them.  They agreed to work on their friendship and they agreed to not believe everything said and passed around like gossip.  I am guessing . . . this might have been the cause of the dispute and shut-ups.

I am thankful for a school that teaches from pre-k how to resolve your issues with words.  The school didn't sweep it under the rug.  They didn;t just say boys will be boys.  The school held these children to a higher standard of being able to communicate clearly and feeling heard.  The school is teaching and expecting their students to resolve issues calmly, peacefully and respectfully.

That is more than I can say for some grownups I know!

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