As a mother, and especially now as a homeschooling mother, I've had to come to terms with my children's strengths and weaknesses. I've learned so much more about their personalities, and how that affects their reactions to the world. It's a process, of course, and impatience frequently rears its ugly head, but I think I've come quite a distance within the last year.
I suppose this process has made me more aware of how other people treat/view my children. I've always been the kind of mom who took it personally if people thought my children did something they shouldn't, but it was because I felt that I had failed in my task as a good mother. Now I find it hard not to be frustrated with people when they don't understand their behavior because I see it as part of who they are, rather than a huge fault for which they should feel guilty.
For example, Zaya is very imaginative little guy. That doesn't come as a shock to anyone reading this blog, of course, but it's surprising how little other people understand him. They think he's not very bright, sometimes, because he's staring into space, or pretending to be some single-celled creature with frightening accuracy. They get frustrated with him when he doesn't attend with complete concentration to their every word, or intuitively understand simple things like "you must always shut doors behind you."
Of course, he does need to pay attention, and shut doors, and pick up his shoes, and goodness knows I try to teach those things at home, but the fact that he frequently doesn't, does not mean that he is unintelligent, ill-mannered, or badly raised. It just means he's imaginative, bright, and forgetful.
Maybe I take things too personally, and people don't really believe those things at all. Maybe I'm projecting my own frustrations onto other people, but I know there's some kernel of that in most of his interactions with other authority figures.
I wish I could give out a little manual for him whenever we're in a new "class" type situation. It would be a strange read, I guarantee you, but it would probably save me a little heartburn, in the long run.