Back to School 2018
By Don Lindsey
“Up in the morning and out to school, the teacher is teaching the golden rule…”
This opening line of one of my favorite Chuck Berry songs (titled “School Days”) has been playing in my head all week as we’ve started to wind up our back to school prep for the kids. For their part, all three of my children have been grumbling and dreading the start of the school year as you would expect. They’ve enjoyed the summer break and are getting the most out of the remaining week that they have left of relaxation. What’s surprising to me is that while most parents are ready for their kids to start back, I’m finding that I am not as excited. I’ve enjoyed my time with the little parasites this summer and will miss their presence around the house during the day.
And while there is a lot of angst about starting school around my house, there is also a sense of excitement. On Thursday, I took my daughter to pick up her laptop and get a glimpse of her new school. She’s moving into middle school this year and is ready to get back to her friends. After dropping off her laptop at the house, we ventured out to Wendy’s where we had a meal and talked about what she might expect now that she’s moving into the sixth grade. It’s conversations such as these that make me torn between wanting my kids to stay kids while also being proud of the young adults that they are becoming.
On Friday, I got to walk down to Wekiva High School with my son Kyle who will be a freshman this year to pick up his laptop. He seemed unfazed by the prospect of starting his first year of high school, but I couldn’t help but be a little bit excited for him. We went at the perfect time and were able to get in and out. After our walk back home, we got into the truck and drove to Wendy’s as I did with his sister the day before where we ran into one of Kyle’s oldest friends and his family. As we all ate and talked, I paid attention to my son’s mannerisms and again felt that feeling of pride in Kyle for being the intelligent young man that he is. I also found myself wishing that he was the same inquisitive little 8-year-old that I met almost seven years ago.
Wanting them to stay little children seems to be a theme for me as of late. Our oldest son will be starting his junior year and keeps amazing me more and more every year with how much he accomplishes while also dealing with Asperger’s syndrome. With him turning 18 next month, I can’t figure out where the time has gone.
When I first came into the lives of my kids, I was told over and over that there wasn’t a manual for parenting. You had to just figure it out as it happened. I thought that meant discipline and tough conversations. Turns out it also meant trying to figure out how to let go of your child’s youth while also admiring who they are as people. I’ve learned a lot about parenting through trial and error over the last few years and have a lot more to learn I’m sure.
The next lyric in the song I quoted at the beginning of this column is “American history and practical math, you study them hard, hoping to pass.” While my children are learning school subjects this year, I’ll be trying to learn how to appreciate the present and focus on being grateful for the honor of being in the lives of these three wonderful souls.
Don Lindsey is a follower of Christ, son, husband, father, and a survivor. Originally from Dayton Ohio, and resident of Apopka for six years, Don sees his life as a dedication to his wife, parents, children, and community.