Here we go again: today marks the first day of school for my two oldest daughters (Riles and Olivia), while Olivia will begin pre-k on Monday herself. At least the baby’s still young right? As you can see, I have the typical parental struggles the kids going back to school. On the one hand…I’m elated. Seriously, their camp ended in early July and for the past few weeks they’ve been home…everyday…with us. Need I say more? I love my kids, but I think we could all use a break from each other by now.
On the other hand though, I’m a little sad that the summer has gone by so quickly for them. I’ve written before about the dying pastime of kids simply being kids. It’s the reason why we haven’t pushed a ton of structured academic time on them this summer. They went to an arts camp to begin the summer, then spent a week at another non-academic camp, sprinkled in with weekly swim lessons and trips to museums and bookstores to pass the time. They also spent a significant amount of time outside. We traveled a bit, but not quite as much as we usually do during the summer. Probably their best time this summer was spent welcoming their baby sister to the flock of now four girls (my little women!). I’m sure that when they look back on this summer, that’ll probably stand out the most.
And now, as we head into another school year I’m wondering the same thing that I generally ponder each year…am I prepared? Are we prepared? When my oldest first went off to pre-k, I wrote in my journal the following words that still ring true today:
Today the day I’ve dreaded has come, you’re beginning your formal schooling and there’s no turning back. It will mean change, that’s certain. You’re growing up. Our time of being your sole source of indoctrination is ending. Now, you will be exposed to other sources (based on our choosing) and our hope that they all align with our values, hopes, and dreams for what you need as a developing individual. I believe we choose well with this particular school, it’s aligned with our faith, there’s a diverse population, it’s a small knit community school, close to home, and you’ll get what you need academically. But this is a game changer. Now your mother and I will shift to becoming your primary source of indoctrination and not your only source.
People say that this can be more of a difficult transition for the parents than the kids…I guess that’s what I’m personally experiencing. Though, I am proud of your growth. I’m excited that you’re prepared to take this next step. You’re becoming that strong, independent Esther-like young woman of character that I pray for everyday. This is just another step in watching you grow up.
There’s this great quote by Cornell West, “our roots determine our routes.” Sometimes when I wonder if I’m preparing you for the world, I ponder, who’s preparing the world for you? That’s when I remember what I most believe: that I have a responsibility to lead you, and get you ready no matter what. Because guess what baby girl? They’re coming for you. Every challenge. Every opportunity. When you try to take life one day at a time, you might feel like several days have attacked you at once! That’s ok. We’re raising you to be like Esther, a leader amongst your peers. You’ll be ready to lead in your generation for such a time as this. I’m sure of it. It’s rooted in you. That’s my job as your father to plant the seed.
Who knows if we’re fully prepared for everything that’ll come our way this upcoming year. I know we’ve got school supplies for days and a school lunch packed for the first day. Beyond that, I guess we’ll have to do what we know best, which is take life day by day as it comes and make sure that our girls do the same. My #dadschoolgoals this year involve keeping our routines consistent and making sure everyone has fun along the journey. For everything else, I’m reminded of my favorite proverb, put God in charge of your work, then what you’ve planned will take place. Amen to that!