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Kindergarten--Who's Really in Control?

Our "Baby Girl" started Kindergarten this week. She is all smiles in this picture.

But pictures can be deceiving.

Actually, she's been dreading the start of Kindergarten. She's cried at the thought of going. She had a wonderful school-like experience this summer, and she's missing her friends and teachers from there. She doesn't want to make a new start with all new people. She's afraid of learning her way around in new buildings and learning new rules. She doesn't want to leave mommy and her brother and sister during the day. All these things legitimately cause anxiety for us grown-ups when we are transitioning. We thought, "Once she has her first day, she will have so much fun, and that will ease her transition anxiety."

But we were wrong.

Her first day was terrible. All of the fears in her little mind came to fruition: she got lost in the hallway, she didn't make a new best friend "as good as Ivy, or Abby or Emma." She only has one teacher instead of 4, so there's less affection to go around. And worst of all to her--she was forced to enter the public bathroom and flush the toilet--something which scares her so deeply, that it paralyzes her in her tracks. When we picked her up, the teacher told us that she had cried all day. The few things that she did enjoy did not outweigh to her all the challenges.

That night after her siblings went to bed, she cried even more, pleading for us to let her stay home. Of course we wanted to say, "Yes, Baby Girl, you can stay here with us."

But we didn't.

We cried with her; we prayed with her. We tried to encourage her. Then we sent her off to school again the next day.

When day 2 produced just as many tears at home, I thought, "Maybe she's too little. Maybe she's too fragile. What if she should be sheltered more? What if she's like a baby tree that is not ready to withstand the elements yet?" My wise and grounded husband helped alleviate my anxiety. He said, "We prayed about this decision. We felt like this school, for this semester, for this child was the best choice for a long list of reasons," [reasons I meant to post here months ago but never finished typing out]. Karl continued, "Sheltering is needed for a time, and then when it's not, to keep sheltering is just trying to hold on to control. It's thinking that I can do a better job of taking care of her than God can. If/when we Home-School (a very likely possibility for our future), it won't be because we want control. It will be because it is the best place for our kid(s) at that time." Gosh, I love that man.

But letting go of control is still hard.

The next day, when school ended, she hopped in the car and said, "I was still scared...But when I walked in the bathroom, I prayed to God and asked Him to give me courage, and He helped me not be afraid of the noise, and I flushed all by myself."

Tears in my eyes--good tears. More important to us than her ease of transition is her relationship with Jesus. Our biggest hope, and most common prayer is that she (and all our kids) would personally experience God, and that her faith would be her own, not an imitation of what she sees in us. The fact that she experienced intimacy with her Heavenly Father in the Kindergarten bathroom is precious to us.

HE does a better job of caring for her than I can. HE is in control.

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