Can we enjoy school?
I’m not entirely sure where summer went, but just like that, we’re back in school.
If your kids aren’t already back in some capacity, I’m guessing they’ll be back within a few days.
Maybe you're the master of all things purposeful and awesome as you go into this new school year. Good work if you are.
But if you’re like me, I stand at the door of a new school year wanting so badly to enjoy it.
Yes... I just put enjoy and school year in the same sentence. Is it possible? Could we do it?
Here are three reminders I need to tattoo on my forehead. Maybe you do too.
1. Give them Grace
I treated Kindergarten like a high stakes college entrance exam for my oldest daughter. Needless to say, there were tears - for both parties involved. This year, I’m *trying* to embrace what my wise mother-in-law calls the “drip” method of education because learning obviously doesn’t happen all at once. Rather, actual learning occurs one piece (or drip) at a time.
As we start this year, my question is: What can I do to give my learners grace for the process? (and myself too!) Instead of asking, “are they excelling” maybe let’s ask what we “dripped” into our kids today?
Was my “drip” aligned with what really matters?
What did my actions “drip” today?
What did my tone of voice “drip” today?
Am I focusing on the right “drips”?
I recently listened to a life-altering message about where we should focus for these “drips”. If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll send it to you.
2. Perfection is not the goal
I will never forget the first day of one of my college classes many years ago: pen in hand, front row seat occupied, eagerly hanging on every word of the professor like an overly excited puppy while mentally analyzing grade percentages to calculate my future self’s successful “A” in the course. His next words assaulted my perfection’s plan: “I don’t care what your grade is,” he paused. “I’d rather you get a D and learn something than an A just to get an A.” I was shocked. It’s like he had called my bluff.
Should we encourage our students to get D’s? Probably not. But my prof’s point was so profound. Are we focused on the letter or the learning? I was focused on the letter. Winston Churchill once said
“Success is the ability to move from one failure to another without loss of enthusiasm.”
If our students are enthusiastically flunking all their classes, that’s probably a different discussion, but you get my point.
What if we released our students from the letter in order to give them permission to learn?
What would that look like?
3. Don’t forget the fence
Sometimes life’s best learning doesn’t happen in a classroom.
In the last several weeks, our dear neighbor has started to leave notes and treasures on the fence for my girls. It’s like they died and went to storybook heaven. Only in novels are there secret woodland mailboxes for treasures and letters.
In our overly electronic, accomplishment obsessed age, let’s not forget the fence. I don't want to miss the excitement of the walk. The squeals as we go.
The strategic planning of our next letter. The value of my kids thinking about someone else. If I forget the fence, I’ll miss the flurry of stick and toad and flower collecting. If I forget the fence, I’ll miss the full-tilt sprint to the end when the clothespin on that wire comes into view. If I forget the fence, I’ll miss an irreplaceable “drip” to live life with my kids.
As we step into this school year, may we give grace, not seek perfection, and always remember the fence for our kids.
...But what if we did the same for ourselves?
When is the last time you gave yourself grace for your imperfection and took a walk to the fence?
Maybe today is the day, friend.
Ready for some fresh milk?? Yes Please!