The other day yet another person asked me about Ksena starting Greek school. She is in kindergarten this year, and when we got back from our trip to the States, she started attending classes from 8:00 am until 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday. The thing that people keep voicing their concern over is that everyone in Ksena’s school speaks Greek, including the teachers. Ksena doesn’t speak Greek yet. She still says mostly everything in English and only understands and knows a few Greek phrases. But she is still excited to go to school every day. One reason is probably that she is a very social person, and she enjoys the opportunity to spend time with other children her age. We also make sure that we are equally excited for her to be attending Greek school. We don’t tell her how upset she should be that she has to struggle to be understood. We don’t apologize about putting her in this situation.
I have a good friend that gave me a really amazing tip about raising children. We were visiting her before we had any children of our own, and I noticed that her children were not afraid of the dark, even though two of them were very small. I asked her about her parenting secret was and she told me something I will never forget, “Well, we never taught our children that they should be afraid of the dark.” I was confused and asked for clarification. She went on to explain that every time there was a film or book about being afraid of the dark, they would skip it. If there was only one page in a story about being afraid of the dark, she would simply pass it over. Her kids didn’t care they were missing a page of the story, they were young and they just wanted to hear their mother read to them. The concept was so simple, I couldn’t believe I had never heard about it before.
Most of our children’s behavior is learned, and as parents we should be their number one teachers. I have found my friend’s advice to ring true in many areas when raising my own children. I never taught my kids (or allowed media to teach them) that they should be afraid of the dark, and as a result they never had any idea that they should be. The same is true about Ksena attending Greek school. We have told her this is an amazing opportunity to make friends and learn a new language, and she agrees. If we had made excuses for putting her in such a rough position as the only English speaker in her school, she would have reacted differently.
All this to say, make sure positive things are coming out of your mouth if you want your children to have a positive attitude about what they are going through. The same concept is true in traveling. If you apologize to your children over and over again about having to endure a long airplane ride, they are going to assume it is the worst thing on the face of the planet. If you are positive and truthful, explaining how this exciting new experience will take them somewhere they have never been before, they will also have a positive attitude going into this new situation. I can’t say whether the experience will end as positively as it started, but it is worth making every experience as positive as possible, even if you only have a happy beginning.