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This is a big summer for us because the beginning of fall doesn't just mean my daughter goes back to school. This year, my son starts school as well. That means I've got exactly 2 months to prepare him mentally for the fact that he will soon be a big kid – the kind that has the courage to walk through the school doors without either parent a sibling.
If you know my son, you are most definitely wishing me luck with what we are all anticipating will be a very big adjustment… for all of us. Around people he doesn't know really well my son is extremely shy and he has a very small comfort zone. This makes new experiences and new places very scary for him, which means school very well could be a huge disaster if he isn’t mentally prepared for it.
So, this summer I am doing all I can to help him overcome his shyness and gain the courage he will need to walk in that door alone come September. In addition to focusing on the really cool things that come from being a school aged child, like all the awesome school supplies he covets, I've also got a few more tricks up my sleeve.
Since he loves the Disney Planes movie and is very much anticipating the new Planes Fire & Rescue movie that is coming out this month, I’m using the Planes characters to help him grasp what it means to be courageous. He was taken with Dusty in the first film and I’ve wholeheartedly supported his love of the little crop airplane that dreamt big dreams. Not because he wanted to race, but because he was simply a good guy that needed to overcome some pretty big obstacles through his own courage.
Courage : mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty
Many people mistakenly think that courageous people aren’t afraid, but that it’s what it means to have courage. Courage means doing something brave even though you ARE afraid. Courage means finding the strength within you to proceed even when you wish you could run back the other way.
With my son facing some pretty big obstacles himself in just a few short months, I think he’s going to relate to Dusty’s story even more fully come September. Since we all know how easy it is to have profound conversations like this with three year olds, I’m going to really appreciate Dusty’s help in simplifying the idea of courage in a way that he can fully understand.
By associating the idea of courage with Dusty it will give him a relatable figure to look to when he also feels scared in a stressful situation. Remembering our talks of how Dusty was scared but still found the courage to succeed will hopefully give him the strength he needs to overcome an anxiety he may have for the first few weeks of school.
But first, I need to get him excited about school itself. To do that, I headed to my local Walmart where I found some awesome Disney Planes merchandise from the original film and also from the upcoming feature. As excited as I was about all the new toys, bedding, and diecasts that were in stock for the new movie, I was super excited to find the Disney Planes Fire & Rescue light up backpack blinking at me from the bags and totes aisle.
Did I mention it lights up? Coolest backpack, EVER.
My son adores my backpacks and is constantly filling them with “school work” to pretend to go to school, so I knew he needed the Planes backpack the moment I saw it. Then if he gets nervous or scared on the way to school or in his new classroom, Dusty will be right there with him. Just one look at the image of Dusty flying through the sky with his flashing lights going will help him recall our talks and remind him that even the most courageous get scared sometimes, but it’s how they handle their fear that makes them so extraordinary. I can’t wait to see my son spread his wings, so to speak, in school next fall and see how he’s able to overcome his shyness and make new friends away from the family. He’s such an amazing boy and has so much he can add to a classroom once he finds his voice, and I’m hoping Dusty helps him find it sooner than his sister did years ago. By helping prepare him now, I’m hoping that fall is a much easier transition for us and I’m able to watch him soar right away.
If you have a Disney Planes fan like I do, you should definitely check out Walmart's selection of toys, gear, bedding, and even bikes. Whether you are working on overcoming nighttime fears, riding without training wheels, or transitioning to a new situation, Dusty and his friends can help.