Sunday, August 17, 2008

End of Summer for sojoco kids tonight.

If I am to be true to writing about what is going on in the hearts and minds of those in sojoco then there isn't anything more important in households in the Blue Valley school district tonight than the last day of summer vacation. The kids go back to school tomorrow. Is it just me to think it has gone by sooooo fast? And then I have to think about how fast they are growing up.

The preparation has been going on now in our house for a little more than a week. I'm guessing in most households the prep work started much sooner. That's just how we roll. Everything last minute.

But in the morning kids young and old will put on their new$100 pair of sneakers, pull on their designer jeans that also cost $100 along with a backpack full of new crayons, markers, pencils, etc and roll toward their school.

That first day is always mayheim. Parents at our elementary school all take their kids in, take pictures, hug and gush and their isn't a damn place to park. It is completely nuts. Remember when we were kids? We just walked to school on that first day and checked a big bulletin board in the hall to see who our new teacher was that year. Simple.

I sat down with one of my kiddos (that is what people in sojoco call children) yesterday and talked about going back to school. She started off by telling me she didn't like school and didn't want to go. While I think she is just a bit nervous about a new teacher, new friends, seeing old friends, etc I couldn't help but think about where we've come with regards to publicly funded education.

It was as late as the the early 1920's that children regularly didn't go to school but instead worked in factories and mines. I read about how they made children carry coal from mines on their backs. They worked 70 hours a week for pennies a day and were seen as the engine that drove our economy.

It really isn't a big leap at all to go back just a few short years ago when in Afghanistan little girls weren't allowed to attend schools and learn to read. It can't be denied regardless of your politics that countless little girls will be given new lives because of George W. Bush and his war in Afghanistan against the Taliban.

I know you are thinking I'm getting on a soapbox but really, kids and especially little girls have much to be thankful for in American and in sojoco. So when she told me she didn't like school and didn't want to go it really made me think how I've failed to help her appreciate the opportunity without giving her the whole "starving kids in China" bit we all got when we were young. Can you imagine how much it would suck as a kid to be forced to work 70 hours a week in horrible conditions? Crap, I barely work 40 hours a week. Funny how they would have viewed the opportunity to go to school instead of work and the "chore" of reading a book or doing a little math. In the 1920's we passed laws that protected children from working and later we decided to provide for all children's education with public funding.

"Why do I have to go to school?", she sometimes asks. I decided a need a better answer. In the car today I told her I had been thinking and reading about how lucky she is to get to go to school. I told her about little girls in Afghanistan and how things used to be different. She listened and asked some good questions. I think she got it just a little bit. She is too young not to love school. Tomorrow is a new year. I hope she has a good one and learns many new things.


travel said...

Every year I take my granddaughter shopping for her school clothes. I've done it for 6 years straight but this year, I had 2 to shop for as another gdaughter starts kindergarten. The 11 year old picked out Nike tennies that were $69. I told her I thought that was a bit extravagant but got them anyhow. The new "kinderhawk" only cared about one thing, her backpack and the pencils, folders, etc. that went into it. When I think back, the 11 year old was the same way when she started kindgergarten.

The backpack is symbolic of everything school is supposed to be about..books, pencils, learning. The expensive tennies are symbolic of what going to school often becomes..a place to impress friends and self image.

Of course I want them to look nice. Image is important. However, we have to remember that the backpack holds the key to their future. They know it when they're 5 and just starting school. They're all excited about learning to read and write and gaining a bit of independence by riding the bus all by themselves. It's our job to make sure that every year the number 1 thing on their shopping list is their backpack.

JOCOeveryman said...

Alright, who stole my password, took over my blog, and wrote this worthless crap post last night? I mean seriously when did my soft side get this soft? That might be the most embarrassing thing I've ever seen on this blog......

Oh my god.....