Today marks the first day of school for a lot of the kids that I work with. Even though I have been therapizing them all summer (another invented Mer in America word), I always think of each school year as a new beginning. Even though New Year's is supposed to be the "fresh start" for people, the culmination of a new school year has been a more accurate beginning for me. I can't seem to keep myself from going back to school and this is the start of my third school year being a child therapist.
Though the thought of starting school in a few days for myself is exciting, this change is not always so wonderful for the children I work with. Some of them didn't even know what school they were attending until last week. School for kids forced to live in chaotic homes can often mean waking up extremely early so they can take the city bus line (which here in Cinci isn't the greatest, especially in the dark). It means they go to school hungry, only to be met with a graham cracker breakfast as their free, school provided meal. Now I am not expert on nutrition (yet) but that is not the complete breakfast all the Kellogg cereal commercials talk about. The start of a school year can also mean battling the nerves and fear of meeting new friends, teachers and hoping that maybe this time, they will stay in this school for more than a year.
I am not trying to be a Debbie downer, because the beginning of the school year can also bring hope to the kids I work with. They can make changes, get better grades, make friends or form close relationships with staff members that can act as a mentor to them. I have seen first hand these positive changes made. Beginnings=opportunities. I have a mostly new group of nuggets (as I affectionately call my clients) this fall and I hope to be part of a positive new beginning for them.
As a therapist, we CONSTANTLY talk about breathing...because it is very important in emotional regulation, which my kids tend to lack. I actually tell them this exact quote I found on Pinterest...minus the expletives. I am sure you can use it for yourself, your own students if you work with them or your own children. I hope everyone starting school in the next few days has a smooth and happy transition into the school year.