School began yesterday for all 3 kids. Jimmy began his High School Journey as a 9th grader. Danny began his Middle School Journey as a 6th grader. And Emily continues her Elementary School Journey as a 3rd grader. I got all 3 kids to school (or to their transportation.) And while I was getting them ready I had some thoughts. More thoughts came to mind after they got home and shared what they did. I had even more thoughts come to mind this morning on the second day.
First, you know the saying or common wisdom that the youngest child gets away with more because their parents have tired out by the time they came along. Well, my thought on that is not so much a matter of the parents being tired as it is their experience.
Watch any top athlete, there are plenty of opportunities right now with the Olympics. Then try and go out and do any of the things that they are doing at the same level. Like try and run a 100 meter dash. When you do that you begin to realize how effortless these athletes make something that is very hard look. That is a matter of experience. They have done this one thing so many times that what is hard for the average person looks easy to the rest of us.
This applies to anything that someone does with repetition. I drive my car every day, I have been driving for over 30 years now. But in a few months, we will begin the process of teaching our oldest how to drive. Which means teaching someone how to do all the things that I have made effortless and routine.
I think that a lot of the seeming permissiveness that the youngest child gets away with has a lot to do with that kind of experience. As parents, we know what is involved with getting ready for school, homework, sleep schedules, chores and all of that. We know what to expect. We also know what really is a priority and what really is not a priority. That last one is a big deal because a lot of what seems absolutely necessary about daily life is really not all that vital.
Second, with both of them starting new schools and working on a different level I had one big piece of advice for the boys. I told them to keep their minds open and accept new experiences and people. To not look at all these new people and experiences as something to be scared of. Instead, view it is an opportunity to expand. Make new friends. Learn new things. Expand their horizons. Which is why I referred to their Journeys. Each major new level at a school is a new and separate journey in life. A Journey that will expand their horizons and the world they live in.
Third, it may seem strange to start the school year in the middle of the week. But after going over what the boys did their first day I realized that someone out there with more experience than I at this whole teaching thing is being really smart. The first day or two of the school year is really about getting comfortable in the new locations and with new schedules and experiences. Meeting new people, peers and teachers. It makes real sense to take a couple of days to do that, get the kids through that. Then give them a weekend to process everything. And then begin to tackle actual learning and work with the start of a new week.
With all of that, a new school year has begun. I get to adopt a new routine. Which has its cons, I have to get up earlier and have more things to do in the mornings before going to work. It also has its pros, I do not have to worry as much about the house being a disaster when Kim gets home or worry about what the kids are up to all day long. There are different concerns and worries, but nothing I have not seen already so I am ready. Bring it on!