School has started here in Georgia, and the aisles are full of new school supplies. I broke down and bought a box of one hundred crayons markers for no other reason than excitement and enthusiasm. One hundred colors, imagine the possibilities!
I remember the first day of school, the excitement, the nervousness, the anxiety and the joy of seeing friends again. Not knowing if you would fit in, or if the other kids would be kind to you, the fear that you might not keep up with the new learning, and would the teacher be nice and like you? All that carried in your head and heart as your bags were full of new school supplies. The potential was amazing and daunting all at the same time.
As the years progressed the allure of buying new school supplies still tickled the brain, even if it included computers and text books. The idea that we were learning and becoming made it all feel like anything was possible. Yet not everyone had that experience in starting school. We have a friend who has a son with a learning disability; he has been kept back a couple years in school, so the start of each new year includes nothing but anxiety. Will he cope this year, can he even keep up, will the tutor be able to explain it enough for him to be able to pass? The excitement of new school supplies for him signify another chance to fail.
Not everyone liked school. I have many friends that now admit they hated the process, the conformity, the ridicule from the other kids, and working so hard to fit in when they didn’t even really know who they were in the first place. School can be such a time of mixed emotions and experiences that we forget how others might be feeling. Parents who can’t afford new supplies, single parents sending their kids back to after school programs until they get off work. Schedules, events, field trips, homework, challenges, reading lists and the ever present school picture. The routine and the learning are part of this time of year.
I have opened my new box of markers and already played with a few. The whole time I was transported back to elementary school when new pens, pencils and markers made everything seem possible. I now think about the children working and learning and becoming. Just like that box of one hundred markers their possibilities are endless. Time to make sure they have that experience and can become who they are meant to become.