School is IN Session!
School has started! The beginning of a school year is a busy time for families. We have new braces to start middle school. We have up-to-date shots, new tennis shoes, new hair-cuts, new shorts, new notebooks, and hopefully new attitudes.
It is amazing the difference in attitude between the last week of school and the first week of school just two short months later. And I am not just talking about the kids. School is a wearying kind of enterprise. All participants start with a bang, begin the long fizzle by Christmas, take a deep breath at spring break and grit their teeth by Easter just trying to hang on until the last days. Even the most ardent student is weary by the last day of school.
I find it ironic that most parents are almost in the opposite notion concerning school. I, a parent of many, am weary by the end of summer. I long for August. In fact, August 7th was a great day to begin school. August 1st would have been OK with me as well. I did try to keep them busy. Camps, swimming, shopping, weeding, gaming, whining, local attractions, boredom, visiting, VBS, more camps, vacation, swimming, complaining, more gaming, cooking lessons, cleaning lessons, trips to the library, water fights, church retreat, school physical, and the list is endless.
When I stop a minute and think about school years in the wider perspective of our lives, school is but a small portion. However, as we age, we tend to fondly remember the school years and our memories fuzz a bit around the edges and our school days take on a golden quality that the kids of NOW just can’t compete with. My husband and I talk about many things and many times we end up saying, “I just don’t remember it being that bad when we were in school,” or some such judgment.
Our marching bands were sharper, our math teachers were more vigorous about homework, our history teachers were founts of information, our athletic teams were in better shape, even our proms/dances were so, so, so beautiful. The truth, I suspect, is not nearly that clear-cut. Sure our kids’ curriculum is different than ours was and their out of school activities are different than ours. After all, we went to school with brown paper grocery bags for book covers, no calculators, one pair of tenny shoes for every sport, and no phones.
We studied the same kinds of things that our kids study, but our applications were different. We did not need to understand how to create effective websites and how to use social media in marketing a business. We certainly could not send an email, text, or tweet between classes. Just like our kids today, we learned what was put in front of us and tried to find application to fit the world in which we lived. We – even way back then – found it incredulous that Copernicus, Galileo, Des Cartes, Newton, and others figured out many of the laws of the universe without any modern technology. You can imagine how far removed our children are from the realization that these old guys did stuff with their minds and a few primitive tools.
So, when I get all my “golden memories” flowing and am trying to tell my kid how great it was way back when, I need to remember that they are going to learn what is put in front of them and try to find meaningful applications for the world in which they live – still heliocentric, but waaayyy different from my growing-up world with no microwave ovens, cell phones, or online anything.
Many thanks to all janitors, secretaries, and maintenance people who painted, cleaned, copied, scraped, fixed, and mailed out schedules before school started. Many thanks to the hours of training that the principals and teachers attended over the summer so that they could stay up-to-date with information that our children will need in their fast, electronic world.
My prayers and blessings to all students who are struggling to grow up, learn new concepts, figure out how to put romance into their lives (teens primarily), stay afloat with academics as well as all out of school activities, and be appreciative to the old guys at home who, unfortunately, have all the money and power.