Every parent has said it. Every parent has slipped in a flurry of frustration. That pesky four-letter ‘S’ word. It’s the word that we can never take back once we’ve said it. But then you slip, you say it, and you hope your kids don’t pick up on it. That’s right; I’m talking about that nasty four-letter word: STOP.
Stop. Stop usually comes before words like jumping, spinning, wiggling, screaming, hitting, talking, tapping, whistling, blowing, marching, rolling, begging, pleading, clicking, digging, stopping. It is definitely a context word when it comes to being used as a successful parenting tool. The trouble with it, as I’m sure parents of these crazed wonders already know, is that it usually comes out alone and precedes one thing: an exclamation point. Because of this, the child has no choice then to put stop into context on his own; and when he does, stop will be followed by words like: thinking, sharing, smiling, loving, helping, creating, funning, expressing, friending, exploring, going, inventing. Stop!
Can you imagine what we would lose if everyone who ever did something amazing was told to stop? Stop a new cantata mid-measure, erase the second half of a poem, trip the dancer, dump out the beakers, turn out the lights, put them to bed, and cease all movements, whether they be physical or psychological. I understand that at the moment we are just trying to talk on the phone or teach a math unit or get from point A to point B, but it’s much more to your child.
You see, at that very moment your child is not just wiggling or ignoring or clicking, your child is expressing an energy that is just another indelible particle which is part of their whole. From your perspective as a parent or an educator, it translates into an undesirable action and honestly it might look a lot like a-little-crazy, but it’s the big finale, the final ballerina twirl, the last stanza, the finishing touch, the last frontier, the final chapter, the next big thing, and it’s the way your child has chosen to handle all of those glorious and annoying thoughts flying around in a brain which reflects a lopsided development. Perhaps your child reads at a 9th grade level at six years old, but she is still only six years old and with that should come imagination and possibility, real imagination and real possibility, and both need to feel as real and infinite as the books feel to her.
I suppose this is a call to parents and educators to say GO! Go run, think, explore, feel, create, be, emote, express, twirl, fairy, ninja, and astronaut your way from point A to point B and I’ll finish that phone call later. I try to remember how I felt growing up and if I could turn back time and be a that young, twice-exceptional, gifted girl once again, I don’t think I’d ask for accommodations, advocacy, proper summer enrichment, or further testing. I would ask for someone to tell me it was okay to GO! It would be all I ever wanted… to just go! Go! GO! I didn’t care what form it took, all I knew is that I had to do something, anything, and I didn’t want to stop.
As parents and educators we have to seek accommodations, advocate, and provide all of the testing and enrichment our kids need to be productive, healthy, and happy, but we do that on our journey, not theirs. We have to GO and do those things in whatever manner we are capable and make it really count. If we don’t GO, I fear the kids will stop. We told them to, didn’t we? And what a shame that would be.
If STOP is not followed by falling boulder, raging river, Grand Canyon, car coming, icy patch, snarling jaguar, pool of piranhas, black hole, or falling pears, then I think it’s safe to let them GO!
* As a side note, the comma has really been let loose in this post. I realize that, but I decided to say GO! Go separate, divide, break up, annoy, and serve your purpose my little commas! They grow up so fast, don’t they,,,