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Talking It Out: Shen’s Guest Blog

Talking It Out: Shen’s Guest Blog

As my mom was driving me home from school today, I sat in the backseat of the car, looked out the window, and watched the world go by. Some days, I feel energetic and excited to get home. Today, however, I had a lot on my mind and it was making me feel weighed down and tired. Fourth grade can be exhausting!

“Shen, sweetie, how was your day?” my mom asked, glancing at me in the rearview mirror.

I shrugged my shoulders. “It was fine.”

“Just fine?” My mom paused. “You seem a bit quiet; what are you thinking about?”

I thought about her question for a moment. I was thinking about a lot of different things, like something that had happened during recess, another thing that had happened during math class, and a social studies test that is coming up. I didn’t even know how to start sharing all of that, so I just said, “Nothing, really.”

“Hmmm. Well, do you want to know what I’m thinking about?” she asked me.

“Sure,” I replied.

“Right now, I’m thinking about what kind of groceries we should get this week and what we should have for dinner. I’m also thinking about the weekend and when to carve out some time for lesson planning to get ready for the week ahead. Oh, and I’m thinking about my friend that has a birthday coming up and how I want to send her something she will like.”

I was surprised to learn that my mom also had so much on her mind. Maybe she would understand where I was coming from after all.

“That’s a lot,” I told her. “I guess I’m not really thinking about nothing. . .” I said hesitantly.

“Go ahead and try to share what you’re thinking, even if it’s a little difficult to put it into words at first. Just share one thing at a time,” my mom suggested. Okay, I could do that.

“Well,” I sighed, “first, I’m thinking about how Kofi didn't want to play with me today during recess. We usually hang out on the swings together every day, but today he wanted to jump rope with someone else. And then, I’m thinking about how during math, I was trying to help my friend with one of the problems, but my teacher told me I needed to stop talking. I got in trouble, and I was really frustrated. I’m also thinking about the social studies test I have coming up this week. . .”

Talking It Out: Shen’s Guest Blog

“That is a lot to have on your mind at once!” my mom agreed. “How does it feel to be thinking about so many different things?”

I thought about it for a moment before answering. “It feels busy in my head.”

“Let’s see if we can break it down a little and make it feel less busy. First, let’s think about how Kofi didn’t want to play with you on the swings today. How did that make you feel?”

“I felt like he didn’t want to be my friend anymore. It hurt my feelings.”

“Hmm,” Mom responded. “Is it possible that he was just getting tired of going on the swings every day? Maybe he wanted to try something new.”

I thought about what she said. It was possible that he had just wanted to try jump roping today instead of the swings, but I had felt like it meant that he just didn’t want to hang out with me.

“I guess so,” I answered. “I didn’t see it that way.”

“Well, maybe tomorrow you can tell him that you want to try something new too. Maybe you won’t be able to hang out on the swings like you usually do, but you can get the chance to try something else. How does that sound?”

“Well, I’ll miss playing on the swings. . .but I would rather be able to spend time with my friend. I’ll give something new a chance.”

Talking It Out: Shen’s Guest Blog

After that, my mom asked me about what happened in math class. I explained to her how my cheeks felt hot when my teacher asked me to quiet down during the math lesson. All I was trying to do was help my friend who was having a difficult time figuring it out! My mom told me that my teacher wasn’t trying to embarrass me but that she had to make sure that everyone else could pay attention to the lesson without being distracted because that would be unfair to them.

She suggested that next time, I could offer my friend help after the lesson or at a more appropriate time.

“How does that sound?” she asked.

“I think that sounds good. I’ll try to be patient and wait to help my friends until later.”

After that, we talked about my upcoming social studies test. Social studies is one of my most challenging subjects, and I get nervous every time we have a test coming up. My mom said that she would make time every day this week to help me study and reminded me that it is okay to ask for help when I need it.

After we talked through everything in my mind, I felt a lot better—like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. Even though I hadn’t felt like talking about it at first, I was glad that I had shared what I was thinking about so that my mom could help me see things in a new way and figure out solutions for when I feel overwhelmed.


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