Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My Tribute to Bens Achievements.....

When Ben went to preschool for the first time at 3 years old - he cried. All day for most of the first 6 months and then only half of the day for the rest of the year. 4 year old preschool was a bit better, but just a BIT. Kindergarten was rough too - as I had to carry him onto the bus each day with tears in his eyes and an inability in his body to walk through the doors of the bus.

His anxiety was so high, that is seemed to paralyze rational thoughts and physical ability.

In the end of Kindergarten Ben was given an award. "The best personality in the class". His teacher, when presenting this award, when on to talk about how in the beginning of the year, Ben would not speak, he would not participate. She told about how he did his work well, but beyond that, he could do nothing more.

And as the year progressed, Ben made friends. Friends with everyone in the class. He held no judgement of any kind, he never participated in any kind of making fun or meanness....he loved everyone equally. By the second half of the year, he became popular. She said that other children were drawn to his solid personality and his kind demeanor.

Not only did I cry on the day that he received his award, but with me cried every parent in the room. I was not alone in knowing what a HUGE year this was for Ben.

Fast forward to first grade....a new teacher....and Ben took only a few months to warm up to this new life.

We tried several activities here in Florida. Tennis, basketball, baseball....and Ben like them. He was not THRILLED with any of them, but he did his best on the days when he felt strong and we held his hand and coached him on the days of high anxiety. The one activity that he just could not warm up to was Cub Scouts.

Ben was afraid of the large group, afraid of the unknown, as each week held a different schedule and a different array of events. Events and activities that he could not anticipate like the sports.

IN the end, we allowed Ben to quit cubscouts. It caused him such stress and I hated that look of fear each week on his face!

This year, Ben ASKED to be in cubscouts again? At first I actually said no. I didn't think it was a good idea to go back to that level of anxiety and he is doing SO well in school with his new teacher and friends. Only a week or so to warm up to his second grade year. Should I really encourage an activity that may send him backwards in his strides?

But....he ASKED? And so I said "of course"!

The first week was rough...but he ASKED to go back to week two. Now after a month of cubscouts under his belt he made it through a weekend camping trip with flying colors! Amazing! A weekend of sleeping out, tug of war, hikes with large groups of people, instruction from different adults, and just a super time!!

Ben is now a kid that has seemed to conquer many his fears. They still exist, but he has learned to live with them, accept them, and work hard to do the things that he thinks he will like - despite the initial fear that fills him!

We are so proud of Ben! Here are a few pictures of the camp out. For me, these pictures are like trophies - tributes to how far ben has come in the last 7 years of his life! We all have burdens to bear in this world. And maybe Ben's will always be a sense of self doubt and all the anxiety that goes along with this. But no matter what your long as you can learn to work with it, manage it...and never lose sight of who you are a success! And my Ben is a huge success this year!! Great job guy! :)


Football & Fried Rice said...

Wow - Ben has really come a long way! I am proud of him too (with tears in my eyes) that he is growing up & reaching new levels of independence!! Maybe he will never be the kind of person that THRIVES on new experiences, but it sure sounds like he will handle them well & endure with perseverance. Way to go, Ben!

Erica said...

It seems this is such a big year for the Benjamins! Ben, my second Ben, whom I love so very much, we knew this day would come....but oh how wonderful it is that it has arrived. I am so proud of you, who you are, how strong and brave you have become, and how much kindness pours out of you on a daily basis. WE LOVE YOU!

reillymb said...

woohoo go ben! i have to say i've experienced him being carried on to the kindergarden bus and the cub scout parade. it was traumatic for me just watching the anxiety. we love you Ben. you have so much more to experience in life too keep up the good work.

shunter1019 said...

AHHHH...crying because I always have understood my baby(he'll always be this to me)in a way that most others couldn''s like he was my little carbon copy in some of these areas as we've always said. I never minded taking him to the store to pick out things even when it meant lining a million different choices up and fighting tears because it was just too hard to make that big decision. I love him so much and am so happy for the huge strides in his life!!!