Start Anew


Empty asphalt road with a sign start against sun

The soon-to-be-freshman set out with the upper classmen and the new parents remain to become informed. We listen to the information unfold for all new high school parents and feel energized about starting a new chapter in our lives. I feel lucky to have so much school choice and hope we have made the right decision for our son.

I listen to the Director of Curriculum go through the placement process. I listen to the Director of Student life talk about athletics, clubs and activities. I listen to the school parent(s) talk about being connected.

I wonder when the Head of School will speak. As the speeches continue, I wonder if the Head of School will speak. I wonder if the school deems this reception to be Head of School worthy. Then I wonder, why not?

Now I wonder if we have made the right choice for our son.

Mixed feelings are normal when starting something new, yet I did not think I would experience them so soon.

The speeches wind down and we are told to separate to make room for the incoming students. We stand and see a wave of kids sporting brand new school shirts. They are smiling proudly as we clap the kids into the auditorium.

The Head of School stands at the podium and welcomes the class of 2019.

I think, “Oh, nice touch. The Head of School is addressing the students only. Very, very nice touch.”

Of course, he is engaging. He is comical. He is inspiring. Thankfully, he is brief as he conveys three pieces of advice:

  1. Focus on one thing at a time.
  2. If you make a mistake, learn from it and move on.
  3. Don’t be afraid to take risks.

I love this. I love this message and I love the fact that the Head of School is talking directly to the new students.

Perhaps it is the relief of this reception being Head of School worthy, validating our decision, or perhaps it is being in the midst of something new, but my mind starts to wander.

I think of the importance of the message about taking risks and learning from mistakes. This is so important for our teenagers to understand and feel safe doing.

Then I think of how important this message is for everyone. It is important to stretch beyond our comfort zone and to feel safe enough to make mistakes. It is critical to our continuing to develop and grow as individuals.

Then I think, @##$%$Q, I just want to enjoy coasting these next few weeks to the end of school and I want to relax and enjoy the lovely long weeks of summer.

My surge this past winter as part of the leave it all on the court exercise has left a Wylie Coyote cutout of myself on that court and I am just picking myself back up again.

My mind won’t let it go, however, as I continue to niggle the taking risks and learning from mistakes message. Of course, I want to pick up this gauntlet. It’s a challenge I’m not sure I can ignore.

Then I think, wait.

Wait just one minute.

Taking risks and learning from mistakes is something we, as parents, do every day.

We take risks as make a decision of one school over another.

We take risks as we let our children become more and more independent by riding their bikes to a friends house after school.

We take risks as we choose whether to get those ribs checked or let them heal on their own.

Hopefully, we make mistakes less frequently and make course corrections swiftly.

We learn that saying lights out at bedtime does not necessarily mean lights are actually out.

We learn that yelling time to get up does not mean that anyone is actually getting up, especially on a school day.

We learn that asking have you done your homework may or may not be the right question.

We, as parents, take risks and learn from mistakes constantly. The gauntlet has been thrown, but we pick up this gauntlet every single day.

Well, yay. What a relief.

The challenge has not been ignored.

Now I can take my risk-taking, mistake-making self and coast over the next few weeks and enjoy the summer.

Hopefully those ribs will actually heal themselves 🙂