This article, entitled "The Mess That Makes Me Smile," comes from Karie Bradley, MomsEveryday blogger from Wichita, KS.
I hate messes. "A place for everything and everything in its place," is one of my favorite sayings. But there's one mess in my house that I'm always happy to see.
It's the pile of shoes on my entryway floor. Why does a pile of shoes make me happy? Here's why.
My oldest, Dylan, now 12, has always been what you'd call socially awkward. He always had a difficult time making friends in school and in his other activities. At his last sports day -- the day the elementary school lets the kids play organized activities outside at the end of the year -- he was the only fifth grader without a partner.
He's such a sweet kid (all moms say this, I know) but he never really found the knack for connecting with other kids. Feeling left out made school really hard.
All the time he was in elementary, we could never put our finger on why he was struggling. His teachers said he was smart, he participated in class, he got along well with others. The counselors couldn't identify any acts of bullying and even tried putting him in a lunch group with other kids. Still, he had no friends he talked about and we fought to keep his grades up.
But we did something about it.
We pulled him out of brick-and-mortar school and enrolled him in virtual school. That was the best decision we could have ever made for him.
Dylan attends classes on a computer under the coaching of his grandmother. He attends regular conferences with his education specialist. And when he needs extra help understanding a concept, he has teachers and parents who are all in-the-know to help him out.
His worst subject was always math, but by the end of sixth grade, he could confidently calculate simple and complex interest.
Back to the shoes.
The shoes are important. Because the shoes belong to the boys in the neighborhood. Dylan's friends.
*Some of the shoes belong to his little brother's friends. Our 9-year-old loves brick-and-mortar school and probably has too many friends.
As a parent, it's a really big deal to see your child find what works. Now that he's no longer surrounded by kids he feels pressured to fit in with, school is easier. Now that he feels more confident, he's learned how to not be nervous and awkward around his peers. Double. Win.
The moral of the story? Kids are unique. What works for one child isn't necessarily the best option for the other. I am willing to re-clean the house every evening. I can even smile while doing it.