Back to School

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

Andy Williams

One of my all-time favorite commercials is the office supply one where the parents are gleefully prancing through the aisles, while their children are plodding along behind with tears in their little eyes. Playing in the background is that old Christmas carol, "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year".  My kids did not much care for that commercial - they were not yet sophisticated enough to enjoy it's deep, philosophical message.

I remember the first day of school for our oldest child. A.J. was five and he went to the first day of Kindergarten in the same manner as a convicted man goes to the gallows. There he was, a five year-old male in the prime of his life, being plucked out of summer and thrown into school. We might as well have been taking him to prison from the crushed look on his face. But A.J., like all children, eventually got used to school (I believe it was about his sophomore year) and all was well.

Our second child was a different story. For four years she had watched her big brother get to do something she was not allowed to do and she was ready to go. For her the first day of school was like being released from prison. Cherise pulled away from mom and dad's loving hands and strode a full twenty feet ahead of us into the classroom. For five full years she had condescended to her parent's meddling ways and now she was free from their tyranny. Her teacher took one look at her and said, "Now there goes a confident child".

Our third, Rebecca, was different - at least I think. I confess that we were so ready for a house free from toddlers that by the time we placed our last child into school that we could have been entrusting her into the care of gypsies - and would have had no pangs of conscience whatsoever. But at Rebecca's kindergarten graduation, you would have thought that Carolyn and I were being marched to the gallows. It had been eleven years from our first child's first day of school, and now we were at the end of an era. Where do the years go?

Rebecca is now in college, Cherise is a college graduate and A.J. has been married for seven years. The years go by, quicker than we could possibly imagine, but it is a good life. The point of this article is not to throw all of the parents into a deep bout of melancholy. Rather, it is to say that we are truly a blessed people and we need to enjoy each stage of these blessings. The really fine thing for Christians is that this life is just the beginning of an eternity of Joy that our Lord has planned for us. We should enjoy the ride with humble thanksgiving!

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118:24