Bargell: Holding back and letting go as kids return to Summit schools
August 13, 2014
It's back …
The crispness in the air startled me this morning, signaling the beginning of the end of summer, just when I was getting used to the idea. Perhaps more startled are the kids around the county that will hit the books again come Monday, just when they were getting used to the idea of sleeping in.
While we can count on nearly everything to periodically change in education, the anticipation and excitement for what the new school year holds is timeless. I recall the first day of preschool for the girls, right down to their matching pink pant outfits that still horrify them each time they see their cute little mugs in pictures. My stomach turned flips at the thought of handing them off, and to be honest it still does, albeit tempered by age, both theirs and mine. High school starts on Monday, and learning to count has somehow morphed to the quadratic formula, and I'm left to contemplate the time warp of our lives.
We are fortunate here in Summit, and have had great experiences with our local school district. There have been hiccups along the way, but that's to be expected I think. Life is mostly about how we deal with the inevitable bumps in the road, and learning to make the most of the ride.
Every year I lecture the girls about their responsibility to make the most of the year that's coming their way. They'll never get it back, I chide, and it's only going to be as good as they make it. We expect our teachers to continue their education, to be up on the latest and greatest in education theory and practice.
Still, it's the proverbial three-legged stool, and each new school year presents an opportunity for me to take stock of my responsibility in the whole process, and consider how I can do better as well. I have tried with varying degrees of success in the past to appreciate that teachers know that each student is different — special if you please. Despite my captivating stories, and even with the best intention, it's not likely each teacher will recall the detail for every kid. I'll try not to take it personally. It's a good time too to readjust my attitude about those certain subjects in school, and not let my bias taint the girls' interest. A friend taught me this well when she shushed me during a particularly eloquent bashing of an unnamed class for which I had no great aptitude. What good would come from my complaints she asked — that boat for me sailed long ago. Let the kids have a chance to figure out what they like, and possibly don't, but leading them along a negative path will lead, not unexpectedly, to negative consequences. I'll try too to listen to my husband's counsel to quit rescuing them. Let them fail now so that when it counts hopefully they'll recall how important it is to show up with the critical paper for the presentation, all because things didn't work out so well when they forgot way back in eighth grade. It's hard, because I hate having to admit all the mistakes I've made, after all there are at least two other legs of the stool where I could place blame. Better though that I let them stand on their own, and do my part, so that when it's time to climb aboard no one topples to the ground.
I'll keep thinking about these things as they trudge off leap heroically into the future on Monday. We've all got a job to do here, I'll let you do yours, and will do my best to do mine.
Cindy Bargell is a mom and an attorney who lives outside of Silverthorne with her husband and two daughters. She welcomes your comments at email@example.com.
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