Yesterday was the first day of school for my middle children. In addition to my oldest now being a college freshman, I now have a daughter in high school and a son in middle school (not to mention my youngest going to pre-school later this month). We did all the first day of school traditions – a picture on the front steps, the drive (for my daughter) or the walk (for my son) to school, the prayers for a great year along during our journey and the kiss goodbye. Including my oldest, this is the 14th year we’ve bid our children farewell and entrusted them into the hands of qualified Boston Public School teachers.
I wish I could say it gets easier with time. It doesn’t, because challenges come with every school year. Some years it is a new school and other years it is a new teacher. Sometimes we, as parents, have concerns about the academic load while other years we have concerns over the social pressures facing the children. As parents of grammar school students we worried about their mastery of the ABCs, the middle school years brought worries about developing study skills, and now high school brings worries about balancing learning with real-world application.
Yet, with all the concerns come great blessings. Our children, whether they are 18 or 4, will discover wondrous things about their world and about themselves this year. They will master a foreign language and learn to solve for ‘x’. They will become proficient in navigating hallways and adapt at public speaking. They will expand their world through literature and express their wisdom through poetry. They will grow in ways no one may predict.
I often think that I want my children, and indeed all those around me, to stay the same. What a burden that would be! When I remove the selfish blanket of my personal comfort aside, I know that everyone and everything changes and I need to embrace those changes. I can, and will, help to steer my sons and daughter toward healthy changes. The first days of school are just a reminder that time doesn’t stand still and neither do we. We are all moving toward something. Standing in the school yard reminds me of that today.