Too Cool For School!
I have just come downstairs from a late night chat with my eight year old son about school politics, aka what makes a ‘cool kid’, a ‘loser’ and an ‘inbetweener’.
In his third year of school he has found his confidence. He has made some good friends and is working his way towards winning the title of class clown. My serious mum mode knows that I should tell him to knuckle down and lark around less. On the other hand, my understanding mum mode knows that he is going through a social transition in which he is finding his feet and trying to assert his place within the social jungle known as school.
His class clown antics may get him the odd detention or two but I know that he is a good kid at heart and he is just trying to make his peers laugh at him………..laugh with him…………like him. I tell him that he needs to get the balance right. Yes, be good fun with his classmates but know when to reign it in and keep control so that he continues to do well in school and not get on the wrong side of his teacher.
The thing that I find hard is explaining to him that one day he will see that the ‘cool, inbetweener, loser’ categories are not important. I find it so sad that kids categorise like this but also remember it so well from my school days. We see this shameful classification across school upon school throughout many generations. It isn’t important. We are all different and our individuality should be embraced, not pigeon holed into a box detailing the level of how ‘cool’ others see you.
Try explaining this to an eight year old who is in the midst of this jungle though. He wants to be popular just like we probably all did if we are honest with ourselves. But should popularity come at the cost of looking down on others? Most definitely not!
I told my son that if you go through life showing everyone kindness and accepting people for what they are without judging them then you can’t go wrong. It is easy for me to say now. I am thirty six years old and married with four children. I am the happiest I have ever been and I can psychoanalyse my past with a confidence that I have learnt through my ongoing development in life. My son however is still at a tender, impressionable age where these trivial classifications play a major role in his day to day life at school.
Kids are so sweet and accepting when they start in the reception class of their school. It makes me sad to see how quickly this changes as they enter the tougher environment of years one and two. By then, it is a whole new ball game. All I can do is hope that my sons continue to talk to me about things like this that trouble them and offer them my words of wisdom. And if they happen to read this, many years from now, they will turn to me and say that they can now understand.