Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Kids always surprise you

See the missing tooth?
We were joking the other day about putting Jake in school here since we're going to be in American Samoa for at least a month.  The more we talked about it, the better the idea sounded to me.  He could get to play with other kids, learn about the culture, and I would get an idea of where he was educationally (We're doing what I call first grade stuff, but is that what first graders are really doing?).

Andy thought it was a good idea so we actually started googling schools and really discussing the validity of it.  So I asked Jake about it and he immediately said no.  I asked him why.
"I want to be with you all day"
Oh, isn't that sweet?  But's a good idea.  "Just think about it," I said.
"OK, I'll think about it."

Later that evening I decided to give it a go again.

"Jake, have you thought about going to school?"
"I don't want to go."
"Why not?  It would be fun."
"I don't want to go."
So I thought I would try another tactic.  "Don't you want to meet other little kids and have someone to play with all day?  You always ask for someone to play with would have someone all day!"
"But then I would make friends and we would leave and then I would miss them very much.  I don't want to go."

Wow, I didn't see that coming.  He's totally right, I just wasn't aware that he cared that much.  We've always been the ones to leave, even before we started sailing.  He left his good friends Arlie and Jett in Norfolk, along with all of his preschool teachers.  Then we left all of his friends in CA, not to mention his grandparents.   When we left La Cruz, there were at least 5 little friends he had grown close to.  I had always focused on the fact that he rarely had anyone to play with, not necessarily taking into account the relationships he makes with the few kids he meets.  While I still think we're doing him good in the long run, it really does make you stop and consider things again.  We get a good bit of criticism about the isolation, but when people meet Jake they're always surprised at how smart he is and what a great little personality he has (I have no idea why they're surprised, look at his parents! :) ).  Not to mention how well he communicates with others and how content he is to play by himself.  He's just a go with the flow kind of kid.  I could second guess myself forever and never come up with the right answer.  I think what this little engagement taught me was to not assume that I know what the little guy is thinking and feeling.  Kids are amazing little observers and it would be unfair of me not to acknowledge and appreciate that.


hotspur said...


Your post really touched my heart. But, it is very true that while our cruising kids do have to up and leave their friends like dust in the wind, there are a number of new friends waiting right around the corner. I was so worried about spending the summer in Mazatlan (who in their right mind stays in Mazatlan for the summer??). I told Jim that the kids would be bored out of their minds. Not true; there have been other cruising kids and some local ones for Tim and Carolyne to play with. They have been in heaven. And yes, they are going to have to wave goodbye to their friends in November. But the perks of saying 'hello' to new friends far outweigh the downer of having to say 'until we meet again'. Yes, it hurts them and yes, they are sad for a bit. But what fun they have had in between! And they are always searching for that fun when we tack to the next anchorage or surf a wave to the next beach. They have learned to go with the flow. Tim & Carolyne talk about their experiences with their friends that have gone different ways with sweet smiles on their faces and laughter in their voices. Good luck with whatever you decide.

s/v Hotspur

PS- Jake is getting so big!

Anonymous said...

I can totally understand why noone leaves me commetns...this is try number 7... so it's considerably shorter... Can't wait to see you guys crossing some day so we can meet up again! Jake just lost his second tooth and they're saving it in a ziploc...don't know if I shoudl be flattered or grossed out. Take care..enjoy your summer!

The Homesteader's Wife said...

I think kids who move around and experience different countries/cultures whether it be through cruising or in our case, with the military, are generally more well-rounded than kids who don't go anywhere. Jeremy is always the first person at school to take a new person "under his wing" because he remembers what it feels like to be "the new kid." I'm glad he got to experience life in different countries and he still remembers all of our adventures fondly. However, now that he's entering high school, (!) he doesn't want to move again because he has a lot of good friends. So, I'm glad we got it out of our systems when he was younger!

Bethany said...

This is the one thing we consider the most out of all the issues involved in traveling full time. I wouldn't let it stop me, but hubs is on the fence. Thanks for the very thoughtful post and for sharing how Jake feels about it.

K said...

I can see both sides of this issue. I homeschool one (and work full-time, so his outings are few). Our other two go to public school.

Our oldest (homeschooled) child is fairly introverted. He does great in pick-up play with other kids. He used to drip into a little puddle coming off of the schoolbus. It was exhausting to him to be with 20 other kids all day.

I don't know about how outgoing your little guy is, but remember that socializing at school is very different than how (any of us) kids socialize for free play. I don't find the school environment as positive, fulfilling, or really social as natural interactions (with any age).

Maybe he has a little extra wisdom about himself that he couldn't quite articulate?

Good luck in whatever choice you make.

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