Tomorrow is the first day of school and we’re mostly ready. We fought the crowds to buy the school supplies and we got the haircut and we met the teacher and we picked out the favorite shirt. We’ll take the traditional first day photo in the morning and fourth grade will have officially arrived.
And my heart is heavy.
Not because of a new year or that my kiddo is growing up or that another summer of adventure is coming to an end.
My heart is heavy because kids are living in this world right along with us, and they hear us. They hear us talking about what’s going on in the world and how we feel about it and whether we approve of the people making decisions about it. They’ve spent all summer soaking it all in — a headline here, a snippet of a conversation there — and (probably) not knowing how to sort it all out.
And tomorrow, they’re reunited at lunch tables and recesses and after school programs.
With each passing year, they get more curious and more mature — and it gets more complicated.
And this year has been a big one.
2017 parents — divided as we are — can we all be on the same team when it comes to them? Can we agree to fill them with kindness and acceptance and respectful curiosity? Can we agree to remember that they’re listening and watching and learning by example? Can we agree to teach them how to spot a bully and to stick up for each other? Can we agree that school is a tough place to navigate on its best days and the added layers of dynamics they don’t quite understand are only going to make it tougher? Can we agree to be ready and brave and honest with they ask hard questions?
Can we agree that they are tomorrow’s leaders and the example we’re setting must improve?
2017 parents, tomorrow is the first day of the rest of their lives. As you snap that ‘first day’ photo and wave goodbye, let your last words encourage them to “be kind today.” We all need that.