So yesterday was apparently the first day of school! I left work yesterday without going to the gym due to play practice being later in the evening. Because of this, I got home much earlier than I normally would.
As I was driving, I noticed groups of people standing at the ends of driveways and the entrances to neighborhoods and apartment complexes. This was peculiar to me because I did not know what was occurring. My first thought was that something had happened, being the usual reason for crowds to gather. I ended up behind a school bus and it then became apparent to me why the crowd had gathered. The crowd wasn’t random people but parents waiting on their children to return home. It just wasn’t just one parent but often times, both parents.
I found this very unusual as I don’t recall parents waiting on their children at school bus stops while I was growing up. In my upbringing, my father worked many hours to provide for our family – leaving for work before I left for school and not returning until after I had returned home. And as for my mother – well she never cared. Granted, I was in this same position almost 20-25 years ago and that is a long time. My first thought was that perhaps times had changed and with the advent of the internet and everything becoming more publicized, including child kidnappings, and such, perhaps parents, and with good reason, didn’t feel it was safe for the children to be left alone. But then, watching the scene, I realized it was much more. Parents were snapping photographs and taking video with camera phones as the children stepped off the bus. Both parents and the child were filled with delight and smiles. I even saw one scene straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting where a very young lady was greeted by her Mother, what appeared to be an older sister holding a puppy, and a father who was mowing the lawn and stopped to greet his daughter. It was a truly wonderful scene.
I asked a co-worker, who has small children, if this is common around this area as I don’t recall it being where I grew up. He, being about the same age as myself, told me he didn’t recall it where he grew up either but it did seem to be common in this area. Another co-worker friend, who grew up here, confirmed he recalled at least one of his parents greeting him at the bus stop up until about the 2nd grade.
Now, let me be straight. In no way am I mocking or belittling this scene, I just found it unusual because it was so far removed from how I grew up. I do celebrate it. I truly believe that two of the keys to life are intact families and education. I believe these work hand in hand. When I say education, I am not necessarily referencing formal education. I reference more of learning responsibility, discipline, and how to be mature and grow into an adult. I believe these things are learned through the interaction of family. Each family member plays a specific role within the family unit and without one of those components, we lose that aspect from our path of learning. As we all eventually learn, life is tough – for all of us. Sometimes things just don’t work out and bad things do happen. Having that support of family and unconditional love provides a support system for us to move past events in our lives and grow from them. And, of course, it gives us important people to celebrate good times with!
So, this post goes out to all you children starting back to school this fall! This also goes out to all of you wonderful parents who are working so hard to be positive role models to shape your children’s lives and set them on a path to be responsible, mature, and productive citizens of the world! As adults, we always remember key moments in our childhood that affected our development and caused a major ripple in shaping the person we became. I am sure these moments I was lucky enough to share with these parents, from afar, will stay with these children and hopefully, one day, will be passed along to their own.