Simple Pleasures

This past week has been interesting. I took Joey to our veterinarian because we were worried she might be suffering from a kidney malfunction. Thankfully she was fine. She is just able to wait extraordinary amounts of time between relieving herself. Thanks to the invisible fence training she prefers walks in the park by the lake to the backyard. We have been working on acclimating her to the fine points of using her own backyard though. Don't worry, I am not going to detail everything. I'll just say we are still working on communication and Bob is totally pleased with being the "good" dog for a change.

Sunday our son came home for the week. He has a break between the end of summer classes and the start of the fall semester. So Joey got to meet him and several of his friends who were in and out of the house throughout the week. It was for the most part a week of indefinite plans and lots of barking. There was more activity around here than usual. I cook more and buy more snacks. My husband indulges in playing more video games. Mixed in are conversations about jobs, plans for the school year, as well as some reminiscing.

We live in a small town and these young men have a shared history going back to kindergarten. They are all in their early 20's (read 21) now. We have shared memories that encompass elementary school through high school graduation and now three years beyond.
Sometimes I am amazed at what they remember and sometimes they are surprised when they hear the parent recollection of the same memory. These discussions have given me a special appreciation for the impact elementary grades (especially k-2nd) have on a student's total school experience. Those early years set the over all feeling a student will carry about school. It shapes self concept in a myriad of ways. I've read that a person's perception of self is largely shaped by what their impression of other people's opinion of them is. My last post discussed the role this perception plays in communication. This is more basic. The early years of school a child is interacting with the world more independently. Positive interactions nurture confidence. Negative can cause withdraw like a turtle retreating to the safety of its shell or defense like the bristling of a threatened porcupine. In his book Getting Special Needs Kids Ready for the Real World author, Dave Funk talks about how behavior is influenced by self concept. Strong self concept brings with it a sense of belonging and acceptance. Nonverbal interactions will have a greater influence than words. Young students are processing a great deal of information about social interaction. Teachers and parents need to consider how a child is perceiving a given situation. It will help give insight into the student's behavior.

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