Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The First Day Of School

My son Jackson hit the big time Monday. He is now a kindergartner.
I dreaded this day all summer. I really don't know why either. It's a big step in my son's life, but letting go was difficult for me.
Maybe it's a control issue. For the first time in his life, he's really in the hands of others. Perhaps that's the reason.
Then again, it may be the fact that he's taking a large step in his young life. It's not every day you start school for the first time.
Jack has been through a lot in his young life. Could it be that I feel helpless or powerless now? I guess that's another control issue.
As my wife and I were leaving his classroom this morning, I paused and looked back at Jackson. He sat their calmly, facing forward and not saying a word.
"Come on Jack, just give me one quick glance," I said to myself. "Please Jack, look over that left shoulder and give me a thumbs up!"
Nothing. He remained still. His little toe-head fixed on what was in front of him. "I know you're scared son ... just give me a look and I'll make you feel at ease."
Nothing still. "I finally joined my wife and younger son and we started the long walk out of the school. Jackson was on his own and I had to deal with it.
In retrospect, it was probably a good thing that he didn't look back. I'm not so sure I could have kept it together.
Sometimes I'm not so sure about our society. Part of me feels like taking the wife and kids and hiding out in the mountains for a couple of decades. That way I can keep them safe and sound and out of harms way. I can shelter them from the influences of others.
But that's neither wise nor practical. Job number one is preparing them for the challenges they will face in their lives. It's a job I take seriously and one I think I'm pretty good at.
It is comforting knowing I left my son in good hands today. The teachers in that school are incredible and we're fortunate to have such a place.
I told Jackson of my difficulty when I picked him up this afternoon. I told him it was hard on Daddy to let go.
"I know Dad, I was a little bit scared too," he told me as we walked to the car. "You don't need to worry though. No matter how many time I go to kindergarten, I'll always love you and I know you'll always love me too."
I guess the students do become the teachers on occasion. All-in-all, he handled his first day of school better than I did. And, he even earned some extra recess.

Copyright 2009 by Christopher Blackburn

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