As my 8-year-old was pulling his hoodie over his head this morning he told me he wasn’t looking forward to outdoor recess at school. I told him, thinking he was concerned about how cold it was, that it wasn’t going to be that cold out today.
“It’ll be a nice day for outdoor recess.” I said.
“That’s not why I don’t want to have outdoor recess.” He responded.
I asked him, why?
“No one plays with me outside. They tell me there are too many people and there is not enough room for me.”
I told Vincent I’m sorry to hear that and I tried to think of a solution to remedy the situation.
Vincent’s problem quickly reminds me of how it was growing up, and that things were a lot different then. Because I was Korean and most of my other classmates were white, I was often left out of group social activities growing up. It took me some time to to build up my self confidence and accept that it was OK to be different.
But life is much different now, especially when it comes to diversity in the schools. I like seeing all the differences in the children, and I like to think everyone gets along. But while we have become a more mixed culture over all, I know that we still don’t always get along.
And, since I’m not there on the school yard at recess time, it’s hard for me to know what exactly is happening during that time. I also know that Vincent can be a bit bossy and pouty if he doesn’t get his way, so he might be contributing to his own problem.
Still, no parent likes to hear that no one wants to play with his or her child at recess.
I asked Vincent some more questions about recess. And he further explained that he never gets to choose the game.
“Honey, you can’t always choose.”
“I know,” he says. “But I don’t know how to play the game they are playing.”
“Well, why don’t you ask them to tell you how to play?”
Vincent goes on explaining that he has tried all the things I am advising him to do, but the other kids still don’t let him play with them. And I have run out of advice to give my son, and I see how sad his face is.
I feel terrible that I can’t fix this for him.
I would greatly appreciate any advice other parents might have to offer.