It’s that time of year — back to school.
Perhaps because I have children of school age for the first time, it seems like talk around this upcoming school year has been at an all-time high.
Where is the best school to attend? Will there be masks or no? Will we make it a whole year in person or not? Are kids going to be behind where they should be because of virtual learning? What are the best practices for educating our kids in light of the messiness that surrounds them?
Wherever you fall on whatever issue is at hand, I’m sure we can mostly agree there has been much conversation, much debate, much back and forth.
And we can probably all have this in common, too — high hopes.
Our hopes are high for our children, their friends and the future generations at large. We want to see them overcome. We want to support them in their growth.
Wherever we identify on political or health issues, we can identify together on the desire to see our children thrive.
I kissed my big boys goodbye and left them in a classroom for the first time ever this year. Even a minimal-schedule preschool has made a big change for my family. For the first time in my life, I’m at home with only one child.
As with every other parent who sends a child to school, part of me is at that school, too.
I have many hopes.
I hope this is a year of learning and progress, but also of joy and wonder.
I hope this year holds unexpected surprises that bring more delight than dismay.
I hope this year is one for more than simply amassing intellectual knowledge. But also for emotional maturation, spiritual development and growth in character.
I hope for new friends made and old friendships rekindled.
I hope for smiles on faces when it’s time to pick them up, regardless if I can see them under masks or not.
I hope for tough days that build resiliency and easier days that bring refreshment.
I hope for more than safety. I hope to see children flourish. But yes, for safety, too.
I hope the right words are said in order to lend a pick-me-up to our children on their tough days. I hope our children are ones to lend a pick-me-up word to others, too.
I hope our children are the recipients of kindness. And that they extend that kindness regardless of whether they’ve received it.
I hope they’re strong enough to be who they are.
I hope our children surprise us by outgrowing the boxes we’ve knowingly and unknowingly put them in.
I hope for understanding teachers and understanding parents. May this be the year that compassion wins.
As a first-time parent-of-a-school-aged-child, I hope for the best possible segue into this new season of life. And for a lightheartedness when (not if) things don’t go as smoothly as desired.
I hope to remember that formation and education are first products of the home. I do not get to outsource them simply because my children go to school.
Finally, I hope to enjoy this. The good, the bad, the difficult, the trying. I want to embrace the journey.
These are my hopes for me and for my children. They’re my hopes for you and your children, too.
Whether you’ve chosen homeschool, Zoom-school, public school or private school, I’m cheering you on for the year ahead.
Lastly, for those of us who haven’t quite gotten the morning routine down, may every morning stop feeling like a fire drill.
Theresa Meacham’s column appears Wednesdays in The News-Gazette. She can be reached at theresam