Last week while setting the table I placed the “You are special” plate on the kitchen table where child #4 sits each night for dinner. No-one knew what we were celebrating it wasn’t his birthday, he did not receive any awards this week at boy scouts, no school papers, report cards or progress reports had came home in his back pack and he did not just perform some sort of heroic act. So, why the “You Are Special ” plate?
It all begin about a year ago when we realized our puzzle boy was entering the 5th grade – still years behind his peers academically, socially and emotionally. Yet he was about to begin his last year of elementary school, 12 months away from entering Middle School. You remember that place don’t you? where suddenly you no longer say “let’s play after school”, you now have to say “let’s hang out”, you no longer carry a lunch pail you have to carry brown paper bags, you leave behind the LEGOs, action figures and match box cars in exchange for iPODS and cell phones. ah, yes Middle School.
This realization hit us with questioning was our son ready to face the Middle School world, would he find success there, would he fit in, would he survive? With the many challenges our puzzle boy has faced along his elementary journey we began to evaluate the what if’s – what if we held him back, what if we gave him one more year to mature, one more year to improve his academics, one more year to build a stronger support of friends while in elementary school, what if we didn’t push him ahead just because that is what is expected?
Moving from our what if’s to making a request to our school to hold our son back in the 5th grade became a reality for us and we gathered together with the team of teachers and administrators that make these decisions in our local school. After sharing our concerns and reasons, they then took a few weeks to evaluate our request and this week the letter arrived – Yes our request was granted and our son will return to the 5th grade come fall 2011 – He will be given the opportunity to grow academically, emotionally and socially one more year before he wonders the halls of Middle School.
By now you might have guessed what we celebrated that night or maybe you are wondering why a family would celebrate this decision in their child’s life. In the Novotny home we have learned to celebrate each child’s accomplishments, highs, successes and events individually and this week we decided to celebrate that our son was ACCEPTED to remain at his local elementary school. Maybe to others it might not seem like something to celebrate but we believe that is where a difference can be made in the out come. Celebrating this news in our home gave our son the confidence that this was a positive decision for his school journey.
By creating a celebration we took what may have been a negative situation to most and turned it into a positive moment for our child – with siblings cheering him on to returning for another year of elementary school.