Playing Hooky

I looked up in the dictionary and also the urban dictionary the definition of hooky and really all I found was “truant from school” as definitions. I went further and asked Google the origin of the word. It dates back to 1848 and is closely related to “on one’s own hook.” That could be described as making your own decisions. Another definition relates the word “hook” to escaping. So when you are “playing hooky,” you are escaping school. I hope you feel like you have learned something new today because I sure do. Well not really, I thought there would be a very specific origin of the word but that is what a quick search turned up.

So I am sure you are wondering why I am bringing up “playing hooky” right? Well yesterday I let Number 4 “play hooky” from school. I guess I am hoping that none of his school administrators read my blog since I am admitting letting him escape school yesterday. It wasn’t all day as he only missed 2 classes and got back in time to take a quiz but I did call him out for a “doctor’s appointment.” His doctor appointment included a run to Panda Express for lunch and then home to study for his quiz.

So why did I let him out of school? He texted me in the morning saying that things in his world were “falling apart” and he was having trouble recovering. I suggested some time away and he took me up on it. Does this happen often? No. Would I do it again? Yes I would. This is the first time for him but all my kids have been allowed to “play hooky” from school for various reasons over the years. I am not necessary condoning skipping school but I do think that kids like adults need some mental health time because life gets stressful.

These times that the kids have been away from school, they have been right there in front of me. I have used this time wisely over the years talking to them about how to cope when life gets stressful, what to do when everything seems way too overwhelming and the most important thing I have always tried to do is to take their concerns, worries, frustrations, and anger seriously and not brush them off as non issues. Kids just like adults can get overwhelmed with life and the pressures society places on them and they have to always know that home is a safe place to land and regroup.

Typically this “hooky” time period doesn’t even last as long as they thought it would. Most times they would come home and say “I can’t go back to school today.” Normally a little off time and chance to be affirmed and loved by family can change their whole perspective and before I was even ready to send them back, they were coming to me saying, “Can I go back to school now?”

I want to make sure I clarify that my kids are all good students who always try to do their best work in school. Any time they do miss for mental health time, they know that their grades are a priority to Kori and I and they must make up any work they miss while they are regrouping. Also, I try to make sure that this mental health break doesn’t impact a test or quiz that would be harder to make up in a timely fashion.

I am not saying that “playing hooky” works for everyone and not trying to condone it. I do believe there are benefits when kids are on the edge to spend some time at home with those that love them unconditionally and can help them see life differently and with a renewed perspective. I only wish adults had the option to “play hooky” when life gets overwhelming for us!

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© 2017 Kori Reed and Mike Becker. All Rights Reserved.  |  authors@reedimagine.com