As you came up to me after school, I knew we had a problem. That walk, the superior your son is a pain walk, towards me in the playground.
You started to tell me that my child, who you clearly thought was naughty, was messing around at dinner time and running away. That he had hidden in a bush and stayed there when he was meant to line up. That five of you had gathered round and told him to come out but he refused. He was rude to you. You told me you expected that behaviour from someone younger but my child should have known better. He was getting older, going into year five in September. It just wasn’t ok to behave like that anymore. He needed to listen and he just wasn’t listening.
Well I was listening then.
I was listening to someone who didn’t understand. I was listening to someone who thought they knew everything because they had done the training but didn’t know my child. I was listening to a teacher that saw a child, my child, behaving badly but didn’t see what was going on. As you spoke to me I saw.
I saw my baby in the playground so scared because there was too much going on. I saw my little boy confused and all alone. I saw him hating the noise and wanting to get away because there were too many people. I saw him find the only place he could in that busy playground, a bush where no one could get to him. I saw him scared and feeling like he couldn’t come out because there were adults all around his safe place making noise. People shouting and hurting his ears. Telling him to come out to line up with hundreds of other children. Something he just couldn’t do.
I know what you wanted. You wanted me to back you up. To tell him off. To say it won’t happen again. To agree with you. But when you were talking to me, I just wished.
I wished I could have been in that bush with my baby that day. Holding him. Talking softly and telling him it would be ok. I wished I could have taken my little boy away, far away.
And as I sat with my child that night, with tears streaming down his face. As I listened to him say he would rather be dead than go to school and as I held him as he cried himself to sleep. As I did that, I understood and I wished.
I wished you would understand.
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