Ah, the first day of school. Time to make new friends, get back in touch with old friends and settle into the rhythms of life. Oh, and the kids get to go back to school, too.

All seriousness aside, this time of year brings back a flood of memories, many good, some not so good. When you are a child entering or returning to school, the first day, in many ways, sets the tone for the year.

Perhaps that’s why many obsess over wearing the right clothes and making sure they sit at the right table at lunchtime. Boil everything down in our society, and it all comes back to tribal loyalties — who gets to sit at the ‘popular’ table.

As many of you with school age children read this, your child is now working into new routines, making new friends and learning new things. It’s a very exciting time.

When my daughters were in school, I got to take them in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon. I called these times my “kid runs,” and I still value the precious 15 minutes when my daughters would spill their guts about what happened during their day.

When they do this spouting off, you can learn a great deal about how things are going and where and when you might want to offer advice or intercede on their behalf. (Hint: it works so much better when you are asked in.)

I know that each and every one of you can point to a year in your education that changed your life. Perhaps a teacher made a difference and got through to you. Maybe a new friend stood up for you at recess, or chose you during a pickup game. Let’s not forget the ‘unsung heroes’ of the schools, who have helped countless students: secretaries and support staff, janitors and bus drivers.

All of these people played a role in making you the person you are today, whether you realize it or not.

I can recall going to school for the first time in Kindergarten. In my school, many years ago and even more miles away, they sorted the incoming classes to tables, identified with animals. I was at the bear table, and for the first week we all wore the obligatory ‘Hello, my name is’ nametags, complete with a sticker of a bear (just in case we forgot what table we were supposed to be at).

Back in those days Kindergarten was all about learning letters, coloring, cutting and pasting, afternoon naps, morning and afternoon milk breaks and, of course, recess.

The other aspect of Kindergarten that I really didn’t care for was afternoon naptime. I had a chocolate brown rug that I was supposed to lie down on and fall asleep. A concrete tile floor isn’t conducive to sleep at any age.

Perhaps the largest change I saw going from student to a parent was the change in level of preparedness for school before starting Kindergarten. Nearly every child today knows more that I did when I started school. I suppose the same was true of my parents when I began school.

I hope everyone has a great first day and a good school year.

As always, I welcome your input. Please feel free to call me at 715-268-8101, write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001 or email me at tstangl@theameryfreepress.com.

Thanks for reading. I’ll keep in touch; feel free to do the same.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.