First Grade Anxiety

"Mom, I think I need another day off school."

I have heard these words every morning ever since Spring Break ended over a week ago.

This school year has been a very hard one for Ethan. Unforeseen circumstances have caused his classroom to be pretty inconsistent. Both his teacher & his personal aide have had a lot of family emergencies this year, and he has had 2 student teachers. But that is just life.....nothing goes according to our plans, right?

However, this constant not wanting to go to school has been very difficult. We have done all we know.....working with the school, adopting a family pet, using oils & other anxiety helping vitamins, visual supports, social stories, etc. Really, though, I just want to keep him home & comfort his anxiety. But who would that be helping? No one. It would only be a temporary solution, and it would just hinder him in the future.

So, I try & teach him how to deal with anxiety...with his tender nervousness. Today, we made a list (one of his favorite things to do), and we discussed in a new way things he could do for his anxiety. I wanted him to take it to school & tape it under his desk's lid, but he said he wanted to keep it at home. He never wants to do anything that would make him appear different than his peers....even a simple list.

As we were making this list together, I am in constant prayer over him. I am praying that he would have a great day, that he would be protected, that his anxiety would be calmed, and so on. Keeping a bright & cheery face, I try & encourage my nervous child that he can handle today because he has so many options that will help him when he gets upset.

Me: "Can you think of anything else that can help you when you are upset?"
Ethan: "I can pray to God in my head."

I don't know why I was so stunned by his suggestion, but I was. I was already fighting back tears as I was praying over him "in my head." And this just brought them closer to the surface.

As I hugged him & happily told him how proud I was of him that he knows to ask God for help anytime & anywhere, I was sending up prayers of thankfulness.

He gets it. And this moment was another reminder from God that He is with Ethan, watching out for him & protecting him. He created him & has great plans for his life.

So, maybe the lesson for this school year isn't addition facts or reading fluency. Maybe it's learning to lean on God a little more.....a lesson not only for Ethan, but for me as well.