My little one was watching a recent episode of Elena of Avalor on Disney Junior. This particular episode was called Crystal in the Rough and focused on Elena’s little sister, Isabel, going to school for the first time after being taught in the castle throughout her young life. During the episode, it takes a confident and brainy Isabel and turns her into an insecure little girl who just wants to make friends and fit in. Of course, its a children’s cartoon, so in 22 minutes all is resolved and Isabel discovers that the best way to make friends is to just be herself.
After the show was over, my daughter went about her way and moved on to playing with something else. Then the following day at the breakfast table, she set her milk down and turned to me. She just looked at me for a moment, trying to find her words. Then finally she spoke, her voice soft and low.
Mommy, will I make new friends in kindergarten? Will they like me?
I was a little surprised at her question. My daughter has always been very comfortable approaching other children she meets on the playground and introducing herself. I also tried to remember when I felt the need to be accepted. Was I that young? It seemed far too early for this!
I guess my silence lasted longer than I intended, so my daughter continued talking. She told me that her one friend was going to a different school and her other friend was moving. She asked if she would see her friends who were already in kindergarten at her new school.
My head was spinning with all her questions, but I smiled calmly and assured her that she would be fine even though she wouldn’t know anyone. I told her to just be kind and be herself. She looked at me for a second. Then nodded her head.
Just like Isabel, she said.
She then got up and cleared her area, placing her dishes in the sink. She came back to the table and grabbed a crayon and paper. As I finished my breakfast smoothie, she drew.
When she was done, she pointed to the little stick figures. She began to list her friends’ names. When she got to the last stick figure, she told me that is a new friend but she doesn’t know her name yet. Then she happily continued coloring.
I know my daughter will be fine making friends next school year. I just hope she will always remember Isabel. Even when she’s outgrown cartoons and drawing stick figures. I hope she always remembers to be kind and just be herself.
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