Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Guest Blog: All I Need to Know, I Learned in Preschool

I am thrilled to introduce our next guest blogger, Nicole (picture above), who also happens to be one of my very best friends. She gave me permission to use a piece she had written last year, which is actually an excerpt from a book she is compiling of the same title.

This piece is all about transition, and was written shortly before Nicole relocated from California to Arizona. (Her transition, I must note, was a success. She met her future husband and is getting married in less than a month. More to come on that, I am sure.) I hope you enjoy this little vignette as much as I do. As you are reading it, think of transitions you have made in your life. How did you learn from each transition? How hard was it to adjust? What about the transition really helped evolve you into who you are today? Also, consider what lessons you may have learned in preschool that you have carried with you in your life. Let's discuss in the comments. And stay tuned at for more from Nicole and her book.

All I Need to Know, I Learned in Preschool
by Nicole Carpenter

Matthew, a two-year old (who happens to have a fabulous blonde mullet), started preschool a few weeks ago. The experience has been...well, pretty much torture for him.

During the day we have classes for the toddlers. We have four rooms...and each age group (2,3,4,5) rotate rooms every 20 minutes. When the rotation occurs, Matthew freaks out. He starts crying hysterically, and repeats the infamous preschool mantra, "I want my mom!". He frantically grasps the leg of his current teacher in hopes of not leaving the classroom that he has currently found comfort in.

The other teachers and I have discussed Matthew's fear of 'transition/change'. The resistance to facing the unknown has hindered him from enjoying playtime and learning. We know, as adults, that everything is going to be okay for Matthew. Although the classrooms and the kids are unfamiliar--it's in his best interest to socialize and experience new things. He can't stay at home forever. We know, that mom will be back to pick him up at one o'clock. We know, that if any problem/danger happens, the teachers will be right there to solve the problem. Matthew needs to accept that the state of transition is a positive thing.

For a two-year old, the preschool is a big place, BUT I can see from my adult perspective that what seems overbearing to Matthew is actually not at all. He can handle it, the rewards are abundant, and his fears are energy wasted.

After having a tumoltous and nomadic lifestyle as a kid, one would assume that I have mastered the art of transition. Truthfully, it is one of my biggest weaknesses. Like Matthew...during times of change, I frantically grasp the leg of comfort and familiarity in hopes of stopping the unknown from becoming known. I fear my ability to handle it and the loss of what I am leaving.

As I contemplate Matthew's situation, I question whether a higher power is looking down on me during times of change and saying, "Nicole, let go. It's okay...THIS is for your best interest. You're wasting time fighting, just embrace it. I know that everything is okay, and I will pick you up when it's all over."

Looks like me and little Matthew have a lot in common...minus the beautiful mullet, of course. When life feels a little unsettling and scary...LET GO. Life is a journey, an experience that we should hold open arms to.

[photo courtesy of N.O.]