“Sunrise, Sunset, Swiftly Fly the Years”
Yes, it is that season of the year again – too early for the leaves to change colors, too warm to wear a sweater, but cool enough to send shivers down your spine.
For instance, you realize the yellow school bus that stopped across the street to pick up your neighbors little one – who at least used to be a little one – signifies the start of another school year.
“Sunrise, Sunset, Swiftly Flow the Days”
Indeed, they flow so swiftly that we may not recognize that the basic roots of our society have changed right before our eyes.
The social and emotional changes in our Country’s way of life have been quite drastic since 1971 when my daughter Lori gripped her mom’s hand as she passed through the doors on her first day of school.
“One Season Following Another – Laden with Happiness and Tears”
When my father’s generation, my generation, and even my daughter’s generation were children, going off to kindergarten was a major transition for parents and children alike.
This took place at age five, but it is different today, because of changing family patterns. Today there are more women in the work force, and a growing number of single parent families, both of which have brought forth the need for special children care services.
As a result of this change, more and more children are beginning school in the form of Head Start, day care, and nursery schools at the very early age two and three.
Sadly, and unfortunately, these parents are missing out on that special ritual day when their five year old first starts kindergarten at public school. That day is one of the most stirring moments in the experience of a parent.
I still remember leaving my daughter Elise all dressed up with a look of bewilderment on her face as we walked through the yard and corridors of the school. She never took her eyes off of me, and never said a word. Then came the moment to put her in a line and leave her.
I remember that I tried to be nonchalant as I walked away, but I quickly hid behind a pillar – she had never taken her eyes off me. She just looked and looked, and I could see that her eyes filled up, but because I was bigger, my eyes filled up even more. What an ordeal!
Yet I knew that all any of us ever really needed to know about how to live, and what to do, we learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not learned in graduate school, but right there in the sandbox at elementary school.
We learned to share everything. Play fair. Don’t hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don’t take things that aren’t yours. Say you’re sorry if you hurt somebody. Wash your hands before you eat. And warm cookies and milk are good for you. (at least they were in my days).
Take a nap every afternoon. When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
“Sunrise, Sunset-Sunrise Sunset-I Don’t Remember Growing Older? When Did They?”
It’s at times like this that I realize that now everything is further away- it is twice as far to my office from the kitchen table than it used to be, and even though today’s books and newspapers are using smaller print, there is no sense in asking anyone to read aloud, because everyone speaks in such a low voice that you can hardly hear them.
In this changing world, I’m sure the lessons and teachings of Dr. Spock have been modernized, but one of his fundamental instructions still remains true: “Hold your children very close and then let them go. There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of them is roots, the other wings.”
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