Your gut. Also referred to as the heart, soul, inner voice or intuition. Regardless of what you call it, it’s very different from your mind. It carries a significantly quieter voice from deep within.
The mind is LOUD. It chatters incessantly, always trying to ‘figure things out’. Although it has great ideas, we can’t always rely on them. In fact, the mind often tells stories that don’t serve us at all, but it tells them so loudly that it can drown out the gut feeling.
The gut never lies, and its voice is always present, yet we sometimes ignore it. Whenever we say, “I knew I should have …”, the part of us that “knew” was our gut.
It’s very common
I’ve had countless conversations with parents who want to bounce things off of me to see if they are off base, because of conflicting messages between school and their own gut. It’s always the same routine. They begin by telling me about some rule, opinion, or recommendation from the school. They then tell me that something doesn’t seem quite right. Inevitably, I find myself telling them that their concern is in fact valid and that they should listen to their gut. I then offer up alternatives or different ways of looking at the situation that the school has not noted. Although the limiting beliefs of the system may make it seem like there are few alternatives, the truth is that there are usually many right answers.
The system that needs an update
There are so many factors to consider when thinking about the well being of a child. Schools often have shortsighted solutions, limited resources, expertise and time. Of course teachers are often great with pedagogy, their expertise lies in conveying subject matter. This is one of the great benefits of school. Dedicated teachers work incredibly hard, long hours and deserve enormous respect for their massive investment in our kids. Year after year teachers have more responsibilities, combined with less time and resources. But teachers are human, and their myopic views are perpetuated by outdated systems. These systems are blindly shaped by the intricate consequences of high stakes standardized testing.
But even through this fog, parents do know what’s right and best for their kids and they sense when something is wrong. Parents are the experts regarding their children. Beware though, sometimes the mind tries to mimic the gut and we need to take much more time and stillness to quiet the mind and clarify the whisper of the heart. Nonetheless, ultimately trust your gut. It knows.
Practically speaking, if something feels wrong and the school is not responding effectively, here are some places to start:
-Contact the district or university to see if there is a parent advocate or liaison.
-Read your rights. Schools should offer a document outlining the “educational rights of parents” and FAPE
-IDEA – Refer to IDEA http://idea.ed.gov/explore/home
-LRE – understand the intentions of the Least Restrictive Environment http://idea.ed.gov/explore/view/p/%2Croot%2Cstatute%2CI%2CB%2C612%2Ca%2C5%2C
-As schools deal with shocking budget cuts, there are obviously less resources to meet the needs of our kids. Consequently, there are more hoops to jump through in order to get needs met. It’s infuriating to see kids get lost in the mix as parents get the run around, sifting through layers of red tape, baffled at why it’s so difficult to get help for their children. Regardless of these cuts, schools are indeed required provide the services kids need. Press on until you find the right solution. It’s out there, so keep listening to your gut.
Share your thoughts below. How do you listen to your gut through the noise? How have you dealt with similar challenges?
Such valuable advice! I feel like I am always reminding college students of this. Particularly when selecting classes for the next semester, or fulfilling ‘requirements,’ it is so important to remember that your school is there for YOU! It’s always worth asking for help or for an exception to create the educational environment that serves you best. Education at any level is an opportunity– teachers and administrators should be there to help students get the most out of it. In many cases, they are, but students and parents can be intimidated by the system, preventing them from asking for what they need.