I’m sure most of us have at least one vivid memory of first grade. Mine would be meeting Ryan for the first time; someone that would become a long term friend and part of the “wild things” tire swing club. Yes, there were several occasions where that club should not have banded right after lunch….
First graders are awesome. They say, do and think things that we have the tendencies to lose as we grow up and become adults. I often encourage my clients to think back to their first grade selves. How did I know and voice so clearly what I needed when I was six? Is it possible that when I was that young I could listen to what my body was telling me? Could I ever be that gentle and vulnerable again?
We can learn several things from our first grade selves with the first being body placement.
Example: A first grader tells their mom in the morning that they don’t feel well. The mom takes the child’s temperature, and when none shows up sends them off to school leaving me a message about how getting the child to school was a trouble again this morning. Child brain: I have a spelling test today that I am worried about and my stomach is very upset due to feeling nervous.
I am constantly teaching parents that when a child reports not feeling well and no symptoms present to ask “What is going on in your day today?” or “Can we take a minute to think about a feeling you are having now?” We can and should also do this with our adult bodies. We often times will have an ache or pain that is not related to any recent virus, but is due to not taking care of our emotional body.
Second, it is okay to ask for something you need….or maybe just want. It is important as adults to continue to be mindful of how our needs and wants change and how we can verbalize them to our support systems. It can be as simple as “I need twenty minutes of quiet time, could you please take the kids outside?”
Last but not least…an oldie but a goodie, and one of MY favorites: STOP THINK ACT. Every first grade teacher from here to Maine would agree they have taught and continue to teach some form of this. So why the heck are we not using it as adults???? Nothing good ever comes from a knee jerk reaction. The next time the dog throws up on your new rug (not that I’m speaking from experience) remember to take a minute, chart your best course of action and then put it into action. A calmer head is a smarter head!
Be your first grade self from time to time-trust me, it will do you some good and refresh your perspective.