For one day my seventh-grade son was in a class for gifted math students.
When I received the voicemail from his math teacher explaining they needed to remove him from the class, I wondered, What on earth could he have done in one hour to get kicked out of math class?
His teacher reluctantly reported that the class met at the same time as the language class where he was receiving extra assistance. The school was bound, she explained, to honor the Individualized Education Plan that had first been implemented to help my son thrive.
I didn’t agree with the change.
I’d seen what a boost the math class had been for my son’s confidence and also that—three years after his need had been identified—he was doing well in all his classes. Though I felt anxious and entirely ill-prepared for the task, something in my gut now told me I needed to advocate for my child.
Propelled by Instinct
Like bears in the wild that instinctively protect their young from predators, moms are hardwired to protect and to advocate for their own cubs.
Heidi Stern, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who serves children and families in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, explains, “I think that the instinct to protect our children taps into the most fundamental part of our beings and activates the ‘fight’ part of the ‘fight or flight’ instinct. It is important to recognize the rage and instinct to protect and harness that energy to protect and advocate for our children.”1