I live in the land of analogies and metaphors. Something is always reminding me of something else and an image gets created.
One of my favorite metaphors is thinking of kids as under the big tent of “normal variation.”
Under this circus tent you see a wide variety of behavior and personalities, doing all kinds of things.
- There are the ones that are distractible
- There are the ones who overreact to tags on their shirt.
- There are the ones that don’t read, spell or write too well.
- There are the fidgety, inattentive ones that bother the others sitting next to them (and their teacher).
- There are the procrastinating ones, with poor time management, who never seem to get started on a task.
- There are the homework avoiders and ones that lose the homework even when completed
- There are the ones that are overly bossy and pushy.
- There are awkward ones who have trouble fitting in with other kids.
- There are the nervous and insecure ones.
- There are the rule breakers and the rigid rule-followers.
- There are the video game – Youtube obsessed ones.
- There are the ones who don’t read social cues very well.
The list goes on.
We ask kids to do a lot of stuff that they often aren’t equipped to handle. Even something like having lunch in a noisy, overstimulating lunchroom or lining up and riding on the school bus can lead to a certain amount of stress if you’re one of those types that has trouble navigating certain waters.
There’s tremendous variation in childhood. By definition, kids are developing, unfinished products. There are going to be a lot of rough edges. Patient understanding goes a long way to helping with these edges.
Be careful about pathologizing this thing called “childhood.”