School Blues or Blessings?

August 11, 2011

There is something very lazy and carefree that comes with the summertime.
The warm days, suntanned skin, watermelon, tank tops. They soothingly whisper, Take a deep breath. Move a little slower. Drink in the sunshine. Put on your wide-brimmed straw hat and spread out under the sun. Work can wait. Another thing these months bring is the inundation of everything youthful. Those peaceful, beautiful hours from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. when children were safely inside their classrooms become only a dream. Like the days when a gallon of gas cost 99 cents.
For those three months, we listen to the bass of their rap music as we drive to the post office, sidestep their hurtling vehicles in the gas station parking lot, feign oblivion of the dressing room tantrums.
These are sacrifices that must be made in exchange for the wind in our hair, the warm summer air and the smell of suntan lotion.
We remind ourselves that soon enough, the tykes will return to their academic pursuits and pep rallies for another year.
And then will come the sweet reprieve of fall and child-less shopping.
It takes me back to my school days. I find it amazing how time has flown since my high school graduation. But those years leading up to graduation couldn’t have crept by any slower.
I remember walking to my first hour history class in seventh grade and thinking, I still have five years to go.
I seriously considered dropping out in eleventh grade. Not because I was rebellious or unwilling to learn. But because my time felt too valuable to waste.
I’m probably one of the only kids who ever begged her parents to let her home school.
I enviously eavesdropped as home schoolers talked about their 4-hour school days and various extracurricular activities. None of which involved sitting through a wrestling match for the last two hours of the school day or watching cheerleaders lead cheers about how our football team was number one.
Our football team was not number one, by the way. Obviously, no one wanted to admit that.
No, when it comes to most social activities, I find that I must be forced.
This was even true academically at times.
I must have been in a very overachieving mood the day I selected my senior year classes. I picked three Advanced Placement classes—English, Economics and Math. By the time the school year rolled around and I had to actually follow through on my decision, my self-confidence and willingness to exert myself had left me entirely.
I remember sitting in the counselor’s office begging to be moved to less-intensive courses.
He took one look at my above-average grades, and said, “No.”
I hyperventilated that evening to my parents, and they just looked at me and chalked it up to female hormones as they ate dinner.
I realized that I had dug my grave.
The girl I was six months ago was the one who pushed me then.
It was my parents who pushed me all through school to remain in public education.
“It will teach you endurance and make you stronger,” they said. “We all have to put up with situations that we don’t like sometimes.”
Well, they were right. As much as I wouldn’t admit it for a long time after.
So, I say–return little ones back to your lockers, pop quizzes and textbooks.
It will only improve your characters.
And give the rest of us time to rest.


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