Saturday, April 27, 2013

all i really need to know i learned in kindergarten

somehow, yesterday morning, i found myself in a group of parents sitting in small chairs at small tables with a whole bunch of really small kids scattered around us.  it was kindergarten round up time.  and bella and i were there.  somehow.

as we prepared to leave the house friday morning, the thought running through my head was, "surely not."  surely it can't be time to think about kindergarten for this little gal.  but it is.  it is time.  and she is ready.  i am not sure chapel hill academy is ready for our little girl with her giant pink bow and her sparkly silver shoes...but she is ready.  on our way there she told me, "mom, you don't have to carry me.  i will walk into kindergarten roundup like a big girl. i don't want the roundup kids ("round up kids," how cute is that?) to think i'm a baby."  and though i agreed to the "no carrying" thing... i didn't agree with the baby part.  she is my baby.  she will always be so.  shhh...don't argue.

we arrived on time and she pulled my hand all the way through the parking lot right up to the front doors.

so our time spent at kindergarten round up achieved a few things.  it clearly showed me this is where bella needs to be next fall.  i was sort of holding on to the thought of delaying kindergarten and giving her (okay, giving ME) and extra year home.  but the couple of hours spent at "roundup" helped cement our decision to send her.  that means she'll get out of the car next fall with her older sister and brother and i'll watch all three of them walk into the same building.  you can start praying for me now, please.

another thing i learned at kindergarten roundup was that i am fairly certain i am going to be the oldest parent in the group.  yep.  after meeting with all the parents yesterday, that was pretty clear.  they had us all go around and tell a little bit about ourselves and our families. though we didn't exactly have to give our ages, i am pretty sure there wasn't another parent there with a child anywhere close to entering her senior year of high school.  so unless there's an octogenarian hiding back at home, i think rick and i just might lay claim to being the old ones in the group.  sigh.

but it was sitting in the parent meeting and listening to the school administrator talk that i learned my final, and most important, kindergarten lesson of the morning.  somewhere between discussing pencil grip and playground time, she began to speak about the importance of first time obedience.  now, i have to tell you, we are BIG believers in first time obedience.  it is a BIG deal in our home.  we have raised our kids to understand that phrase and exactly what it means. not that any of them of them are perfect at it, but i am pretty sure they could all give you a fairly accurate definition of the term.

first time obedience is doing (1). what is said...(2). right away...(3). with a good attitude.  seems simple enough, right?  like i said, we've talked that phrase blue in the face.  it is part of our everyday lingo in the mcnatt home.  but somehow...when mrs. hansen continued on to say, "if any one of those three parts is missing, it is not true obedience, is it?"  i found myself swallowing hard.  "if any one of those three parts is missing, it is not true obedience."  and somehow i wasn't thinking of my kids, i was thinking of myself.

you see, there's  been a lot about this year that has looked like obedience on my part.  i have been obedient to God in making this move and picking up my family and starting over 1000 miles away from home.  i did what He asked.  i did it when He asked.  but that third part, with a good attitude,  is the thing that gets me.  i've had a lot of people compliment me on being obedient to God and supportive of my husband in this move.  i've had at least a hundred women say to me, "i am not sure i could do that if i was asked."  and somehow i've kinda stuck a feather in my cap and patted myself on the back a bit.  i was obedient. i am supportive. right?  

and it might, very well,  look that way to the outsider.  but i know what my attitude has been on the inside...and if true obedience is having a good attitude while following God's commands then i really can't be labeled as a truly obedient woman.  and mostly it is not what has come out...mostly it has been what has stayed in.  does that make sense?

"they grumbled in their tents and did not obey the Lord."  ~ psalm 106:25

so though we aren't exactly living in tents, i needed to be reminded that any kind of grumbling is disobedience.  and as we begin to pack up the house this weekend and prepare to move in a few days, i probably needed to hear that simple kindergarten lesson yesterday more than anyone (young or old) in the group.  i needed to be reminded that my attitude is just as important as my actions.  we have a really big week ahead of us as we leave this lake home and set up another.  this is going to take some deep digging on my part.  if you've ever moved before, you know what i'm talking about. and, by the way, didn't we just do this???  moving with 5 kids and 2 gigantic dogs also creates just a bit of chaos.  i am sure somewhere about wednesday afternoon i'll be wishing for my magic-moving-wand.  you know the one where you just wave it and say something clever like abbra-ca-dabbra-cala-ma-cace-please-put-everything-into-it's-place!  then point it at the messy house and the multitude of boxes and after a quick poof of smoke everything is in the right spot and it all looks perfect.  yeah, that wand.  if you have one, let me know.

because it's easier to have a good attitude when everything is perfect and in place, right?

what i really need to chant though is God's word.  i need to chant His promises and His prayers.  because the absolute truth is, i cannot do it on my own. no matter how how hard i try and how good i want to be, one thing will go wrong and i'll be right back in the middle of my bad attitude.  moving is hard.  life is hard.  keeping a good attitude only comes when we keep ourselves close to Him. i am not sure i learned that in kindergarten, but i have certainly learned that lesson in life.

"for our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name." ~  psalm 33:21

"above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."  proverbs 4:23

so we learned a lot in our first time to kindergarten.  i, clearly, learned more than bella. she had fun: went on a scavenger hunt, made an art project, ate a snack and listened to a story.  i had to come face to face with not only my age, but my disobedient heart. in 1988, roger fulghum published the book, all i ever need to know i learned in kindergarten.   as a high school english teacher, i never really bought into that theory.  i used to tell my students, that though fulghum was clever in his writing, they still had an awful lot to learn in my senior english class.

but perhaps i should have given him more credit.  perhaps he was right.   kindergarten does have a lot to teach...regardless of your age.


DiJo said...

You would not be the oldest Mom of the "kinders" if your pal was going to be there next year.. So happy for Bella.. But of course wishing her little side-kick was ready too... Bella is going to THRIVE!!!! Can't wait to see her blossom next year!!!! Sorry I am not home to help with the move..... So excited for you to be 5 minutes away!!!!!

Hugs from Hong Kong!

Aus said...

Great couple posts this morning - I can so relate to being the "oldest parent" - our oldest is 28...makes me a couple years older than you I'd guess - and I have one in K next's all good and relative. We had our 10 year old daughter's friend over this weekend, and the kids were talking about how "old" their parents were...our daughter's friend thought her mom was older than my bride and I...seems that we act more like kids than her parents do. If I had to guess - well - we must be a good dozen years older than they are! Age is relative - or "you are only as old as you feel!"

And the lake in the morning - love it - and so glad you had the time there - in the fullness of time it will be worth the "2nd move"!

hugs - aus and co.

jennie said...

What is wrong with being the oldest parent? Some people don't have a choice about it. I am 32 and have been battling infertility for five years. I don't know how or if God will ever make me a parent. But if he does I wont worry about being the oldest parent in any situation. I will be blessed just to be lucky enough to be a mom of one child.

jodymcnatt said...

dear jennie -- you are absolutely correct! there is nothing, not a thing, wrong with being the oldest parent. it is a privilege, pure and simple. i was more just kind of making fun of myself in the situation...certainly didn't mean to come off as grumbling -- no place for that! bless you in your journey.