Along with a new backpack and a first day of school outfit, my 1st grader had another possession: her first day of school homework.  “Homework” was a serious, welcome word to my budding full-day-of-schooler.  She has years of practice watching her older sister toil over homework, and she jumped at the invitation to perform her own.  Her task?  To draw a picture of her family and complete a fill in the blank exercise.

Work took me away this past weekend so I asked my highschooler if she would be interested in guiding her sister through this homework.  Knowing that my older daughter preferred “to do” lists over empty time, she took up the challenge with pleasure.  While away, I received word that the homework was finished but details were going to have to wait till I got back home.

Upon return, I knew that my youngster would come first.  I sat down and focused on her.  First, she presented the drawing of her family. It was a huge, fill-the-page, sunny drawing of her dad (labeled “dad”), standing next to “mom”, and then “me” who was next to her sister.  We were sporting beautiful smiles and appropriately styled hair and clothing.  She made sure dad was wearing blue, me brown and green, with her and her sister in bright colors.  It was lovely.  Our three pets were also represented as three smiling animal faces floating in the sky.  Any psychologists out there want to explain that one??  She was proud of her picture and happy to explain all of its details.  Indeed, It was a picture of her family.

Next was her “All About Me” journal.  The sentence read:  One word to describe myself is ______.  What word would you write?  She put “happy”.  Yes, she is that.  I know God put her in my life so that I could learn to lighten up a bit.  My seriousness is often interrupted by her bursts of happiness.  She makes me smile just thinking about it.  The next sentence stated: My family is special because ________.  As a child of divorce, what are the possibilities with that sentence?  My smile continued as I read “because they take care of me.”  Yes, we do that.  Shielded from non-relevant life, her reality is one of security. 

Her homework turned into my periodic-term exam: the “term” being her life, the “exam” measuring my parenting.  I think the teacher should give us both a star.


Relates to Situation #25, Talking to Your Child: Saying “I Love You”, The Pro-Child Way: Parenting with an Ex to be released January 2010.  www.TheProChildWay.com Ellen Kellner, all rights reserved.

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