End of the school year blues
Ok, am I the only one this happens to?
At the end of the school year, I’ve got a serious case of the blues. I have to avoid classrooms during the last week — projects and posters are off the wall, the hallways are bare. School’s over; everyone wants to party except for me.
It’s not what you think: it’s not that I don’t love summer with my kids. The end of the school year is another milestone for me that tells me how quickly time is passing us by, and how quickly our kids are growing up. Another year is over — they transition from one grade to the next. They are becoming such interesting and capable young people, and it’s all happening so very, very fast.
This year, I couldn’t pick my youngest up from school. I knew that if I subjected myself to the last afternoon where everyone stands in line cheering as the buses take off for the final time. Normally when everyone is cheering, I’m sniffling. What a wimp! I made the strategic decision to pick her up the day before, so she could lug her four bags of treasures from out of her desk home. That way, on “last day” all she had to schlepp home was herself.
Still…the morning when I saw her off at the bus stop…oh, man. I got all choked up. Oh, seriously…what a basket case, huh?
I suspect I’m not the only one who reacts this way. Our kids are little for just such a brief time and as we get older, that time goes increasingly fast. It seems just yesterday that they were learning to walk. Now they read, write, know their times tables, solve Algebra problems and understand the makeup of DNA.
It’s so clear to me when looking at these little “works in progress” that we as parents have a serious responsibility to make sure we do all we can make sure they have the tools they need to succeed. That means a good education, but we can’t ever assume that school will be the only source of that education. It means teaching them positive character and helping them make appropriate decisions about right and wrong. It means developing such invaluable traits such as respect, compassion, consideration, empathy and more. Every day we see examples in the media and elsewhere of kids who haven’t had the benefit of those lessons — it’s not only harder for them now, but it’ll likely only get worse as they get older.
We are very fortunate to live in a country where education is provided for all. At the same time, because it’s guaranteed, we have a tendency to take it for granted. We should be in a partnership with our schools, because, when you stop to think about it, we should have the same mutual goal — giving our kids the best start they can so that they can be all they were meant to be.
At the end of the school year, I encourage each parent, each teacher, each school administrator to ask this question: to the best of our abilities, did we do the best we could? If we were being graded at the end of the school year, would we receive an “A?” If we expect our kids to be “proficient” or “exceed proficiency” shouldn’t we expect the same of ourselves?