Yessa had never gone to an RE (Religious Exploration, the UU version of Sunday School) Class without Buds or me. (Or if she has, and Mia would remember better than me, it wasn’t frequently.) We were always her class teacher or class helper. Even at UUCF where she had many friends in class and teachers she knew well and loved, Buds and I played a role.
This was fine with Buds and me. We enjoy teaching RE (as I’m doing at our new church), and it was a great way to get to know the other children and parents, as well as helping Yessa find her place in the world. If anyone else felt we were being too coddling, they were wise enough to keep silent about their opinion.
Yessa is not shy, though she will use that adjective to describe herself. She simply has the introvert’s need to explore a situation in a safe, comfortable way until she feels secure, or until she has an understanding of the people she’s in contact with.
On Sunday, Yessa went to class by herself, and it was if she had always done it. I popped in and talked with Pam, the other RE teacher, before class to let her know that Yessa was going to give it a try.
Pam’s first question was, “Why doesn’t she want to come? Have I done something?”
This is always my concern. Adults often take it personally with a child like Yessa. They can’t accept that their kindness and open hearts aren’t the issue. Pam is wonderful. That’s partially irrelevant. What matters is Yessa’s ability to process the situation and feel safe.
After assuring Pam it had nothing to do with her, we talked about the possible outcomes, and I let Pam know that if Yessa decided it wasn’t working, it was fine for her to come back over to the sanctuary with us.
The deciding factors for Yessa are having Beloved Buddy Imani in her class, and The Buster also being in her class. With those extra supports in place, and knowing that Pam was open to letting her leave if she needed, she headed off with the other kids like she’d always done it that way.
I was a little stunned for part of the service. Buds sat on one side of me, and I asked Judy who was sitting one seat over to slide over next to me since I was feeling like I had too much personal space, which she kindly did with a laugh.
Pam and Yessa both agreed later that it was a great class and that they had a fun time. And Buds and I loved being in the sanctuary together, truly focused on the service.
Then, the very next day, Yessa went to gym class with Monkey and Buster and I went to do my workout. It was the first time they went to gym class without me waiting outside in the lounge. Possibly poor timing on that one.
Then, of course, the emergency in the previous post happened, so I may have to go back to sitting in the lounge for a couple classes again, but that’s okay. We’re making strides forward, and we’re all happy and comfortable with them.