kindergarten

A Jewish Prayer for When Your Kid Starts Kindergarten

Toy block alphabet letters wooden child spelling

It should have been easy. Dropping our son off at kindergarten.

And why wouldn’t it be? He’d already been to two years at a temple preschool without much drama. Plus, we’d been through this before: dropping our daughter off just six years ago, no tears on either side. We weren’t newbies; this should have been easy breezy.

And yet, as our boy enters his second day of “real school” with a more stoic look on his face than I have ever seen before, I realize he is anxious. And that maybe he senses our nerves and he’s absorbing the anxiety that we are trying so hard to cover up.

And so, I offer this little hopeful prayer:

Dear God of Kindergarten,

Please be kind to our boy.

Please consider his quirks charming instead of annoying. Please find his penchant for stripping off all his clothes when he uses the bathroom to be an interesting phase and not a reason to call the school counselor. Please find his playground game of “Kill All the Animals” to be imaginative and not actually worrisome. Please find his obsession with Abiyoyo (a mythical creature from African folklore that is similar to Big Foot) to mean he has a good memory and loves a great story instead of wanting to scare all the other children.

Please see that when you laugh at something he does, he sometimes thinks that means you are laughing at him instead of with him—and he retreats. Please know that when he doesn’t eat his applesauce, it isn’t because he doesn’t want to; it’s because he can’t open it and he’s too embarrassed to ask for help. Please see that if he is kind of loud, it’s only because he is excited and still grasping the concept of inside voices. Please know that when he boldly boasts he’s going to be “mayor of the school,” it’s only because he’s sure he’s going to actually get kicked out. And please know that if he looks angry sometimes, it’s only because he actually doesn’t know how to do something but doesn’t know what to do about it.

Please understand that he is so, so excited to be there in “big kid school” but super frightened, too. He is well aware that he is small and in many cases, smaller than a lot of his kindergarten buddies. So he may talk louder or “bossier” than the others. But it’s only to make himself seem a little bit bigger in comparison.

Please know that there is a really decent brain in there and a good heart, too. And that if someone gets hurt, he’ll be the first one to go looking for an ice pack. And know that if he introduces himself as Peter Parker, he knows that is actually not his name.

Be kind, God of Kindergarten. And I’ll remind our boy to do the same.


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Nanette Lerner

Nanette Lerner writes commercials, very long texts and young adult fiction novels.  She lives in New Jersey with her husband and two kids.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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