Back To SchoolWritten by Linda Hill
Back to School! At this time of year, that phrase is plastered all over the stores we visit, beckoning us to purchase new clothes, shiny new school supplies, expensive calculators, backpacks and lunchboxes for the kids. It is a time of year that's met with mixed emotions: excitement to see old friends, anticipation of what this year will bring, sadness that summer is gone, disbelief that your "baby" is already in _______ (fill in the blank... Kindergarten, Middle School, High School, and even College!!) We tend to mark our kids' lives with those big milestones each fall, yet they always seem to hit us like we had NO idea they were coming.
Today I sent my youngest off to her first day of High School. It is a day like today that I just marvel at how quickly time flies! I remember the days when I had 5 little ones who drove me to the brink of insanity by the time summers' end came around and I was SO excited to send them back to school. There were even earlier days of preschoolers who never went back to school and I'd DREAM of just ONE day to myself to get "caught up." OK, sometimes I'd just dream of being able to use the restroom without little hands waving at me from under the door!
I had older friends who'd say to me, "Oh, Linda, ENJOY these days because they go so quickly!" I remember that once, after one of those LONG days with little children, I told my husband that I wanted to punch the next person who said that to me and I swore I'd never say that to a young mother when I got older. Yet here I am... lamenting the fact that it REALLY did go quickly and wanting to tell each of those frazzled young moms I know to enjoy those years of innocence and simplicity. Those years are when the biggest concerns are WHICH pink backpack to choose and if the 24-pack of crayons will do or if your child's creativity will be stifled if you don't get them the 96-pack WITH the sharpener built into the back of the box. I've learned as they get older, the concerns change dramatically.
The most important thing I want to send with my kids as they go back to school is a strong sense of who they are. The path of High School (ok, pretty much any school these days) is a very precarious one... lots of pitfalls, temptations, vile language, inappropriate behavior, experimentation, and of course, that whole "popular" thing. Trying to help our kids navigate the path successfully isn't an easy task.
As I remember my own youth, I remember the difficulties, but felt that overall, I came out alright, so I've asked myself how I managed. I'm sure the formula for every parent and child is different, but there's one thing I feel made a big difference in my life. When I would walk out the door as a child, my mom would yell out after me, "Remember who you are and what you stand for!" It became our family motto over the years and I say the same thing to my own children. Hearing it brings me comfort and helps me stay "grounded." Of course, there were years of teaching and talking as a family to decide WHO we were and WHAT our family stood for and I'd expect that to be different for every family. Do your kids really know WHO they are and WHAT they stand for? It is a worthy question to ask and probably deserves more than a few dinnertime discussions.
As for me, I love the quote so much that I put it on my foyer wall... as a reminder (in case I'm not home to yell after them) that they belong to a family that loves them, they come from many generations who have sacrificed for them to have all that they have,and that they are expected to do their best to honor their family name. THAT is the best back-to-school supply I can give them. It is also not something that I can just give them once and expect to last for the year. It needs to be re-filled and sharpened regularly.
What do you do to let your family know you love them? (For more ideas, check out our Lessons About Life story starter)
Linda Hill is a native of…well, nowhere really. She grew up as an Air Force brat and currently claims Littleton, CO as her home of 8 years (the longest she’s lived any one place in her life so far!) She is the mother of 5 children, two sons and a daughter who have already “flown the coop” and 2 daughters in high School. She is a graduate of Brigham Young University in Family Science and put her degree to use as she raised her large family and operated several home-based businesses while serving in many volunteer positions in her church, community and the schools. She has been married to Kent Hill for 25 years and they look forward to at least another 125! Currently she is an instructor to teens for a daily early morning religion class. She is passionate about her family, storytelling, politics and when she gets the time – locking herself in her sewing room with a chick flick and getting her “creative” on!
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