Tuesday, 3 February 2009

The Survival Instinct

Yesterday, we picked up Bram from school because we still needed to pay for his uniforms. I picked him up from the classroom, and we walked to the main office to pay at the front desk. The "external relations director" for the school asked me how Bram was doing and if he was enjoying his new school.

It is a common question lately, since he just switched out of a Spanish only system into the bilingual system of this school. It's a loaded question in its response though. Bram is doing amazingly better. He talks about school, his new friends, the stories he's learning, what he ate for lunch, etc. For the first time in 6 months, he is excited about going to school, not simply enduring. And he's actually using Spanish words in context, beyond 'commands'. Tonight he told me he makes lots of sudsy bubbles with his 'javon' (soap).

I think the major difference is the switch from "survival mode" to a comfort range that facilitates learning. In the previous school, Bram never really talked about what they were doing each day perhaps because he was never sure. He was just trying to make sure he didn't get left behind. (I think that given a longer time in the previous system, Bram would have adapted and learned the language well enough to enjoy. It just would have taken time.)

My major lesson in all of this school drama: It's amazing the difference in our personality when we're comfortable. Things that make us nervous and cause us to be unsure put us into an instinctual survival mode. We don't think or enjoy or experience, we simply survive. But when we find ourselves in a place where we can be at emotional rest, so to speak, we can begin to see the whole picture, put things to work, we can enjoy.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28


Chatty Kelly said...

wow. Your words impressed me today. Sometimes I think I'm just in survival mode. Hmmm.

My ADHD Me said...

You are SO right!

Sue J. said...

There's a lot to ponder here, Valerie! I really like how you put this and I'm wondering how many applications I can see of this in things going on in and around my life.

It's not that God always wants us to be comfortable. But, is there a place we can enter that "uncomfort" zone and still be thriving instead of just treading water?

Thanks so much!!

Edie said...

Excellent thoughts Valerie. You hit the nail on the head. I hate being in survival mode.