I’m a school nerd. As a kid I looked forward to the beginning of the school year—labeling those multicolored folders, decorating my desk or locker, and (rapture!) cracking open those glorious textbooks. I was that troublemaker who was always asking for extra credit work, who did the even-numbered problems in algebra when only the odd ones were assigned, who reminded the teacher when he forgot to assign homework.
Of my four children, just one has this affliction. My youngest and I look forward to back-to-school shopping the way other parent-child teams anticipate the family vacation or Christmas break. I still get the same excitement from looking at the textbooks for the first time, but now the experience is just a tad bittersweet. I’m thrilled for all the new things she’s going to learn, and even more thrilled for the ways she’ll use that knowledge to do great things in the world. But I do miss that sense of what I might learn this year, or how I might be able to do more and better things.
We tell our youngsters they’re living the best years of their lives and most of them—like my other three learning-averse kids—scowl in derision. What’s so great about enforced curfews, too-early bedtimes, and a daily litany of “No, sirs,” and “Yes, ma’ams”? It’s that sense of promise, that great taiga of undiscovered country that lays at their feet. With a future like that, they can do anything.
I think I miss that sense of adventure even more than those freshly sharpened No. 2 pencils.
Image courtesy of luigi diamanti, FreeDigitalPhotos.net