Shawna O’Hagan Morrow header image

Back to School

in Relationships & Family

This was always an exciting time for me.  I loved school.  I was always so excited to find out who my new teacher was going to be.  My favorite things about going back to school were getting a new box of Crayola 64 and getting a new lunch box.  I loved the excitement of going back to school.  As I’ve gotten older, I still live according to the school calendar.  I LOVE summertime, even though I have to work.  I’m excited in August for the crayons and lunchbox purchases.

Here’s my take on the school year and my words of wisdom.

I want to wish all the teachers who are groaning about going back to work (you know who you are) a smooth transition back into the real world that the rest of us have been living in all summer. 🙂 I also applaud each and every one of you for making a positive difference in a child’s life.  You make lasting impressions that carry kids through their lives.  Almost every person can remember their elementary school teacher’s names.  What does that tell you?   That you make a HUGE difference.  A good teacher can lift kids up to heights they didn’t know were possible.  Thank you for doing what you do!  It’s not an easy job, but I’m glad that you do it.  To my sister, sister-in-law, and all my teacher friends keep up the good work.  I couldn’t do your job, so thank you.

I want to wish the kids a fantastic school year filled with excitement, discovery, new friends and happy memories.   Be fearless in your learning and have fun!  Be kind to your classmates – everyone needs a friend.  Be strong and don’t join in when other kids are being mean.  Kids can be cruel – you don’t have to be like them.   Stand up for what you believe is right, even if it’s not the popular thing to do.  Show them what courage to be you looks like.  You are perfect just the way you are and you’re going to have a great year!

I want to wish the parents a year filled with patience for the meltdowns, strength for the tough times, lots of tissues for the first day and lots of batteries for your cameras to capture everything – these years will fly by fast.  Capture every moment, even if it annoys your kids now, they will love them later.

Take time to listen to their stories when they get home every day.  Nothing else is more important than taking the time to listen and joining in on their excitement.  You may think you have more important things to do, but let me assure you that you don’t.  The dishes can wait.  The chores can wait. The baths can wait.  Everything can wait.  And if it doesn’t get done – that’s ok.  The most important investment you can make is in those little people and building who they will become.

Don’t wish this time away.  It will be gone in the blink of any eye.  Write down the sweet, funny things that they say or do.  One day you will have forgotten these moments and when you find the journal or notebook or word document, you’ll be so thankful that you took the time to write them down.

Encourage them.  Your voice becomes their inner voice whether you think so or not.  Be supportive and encouraging.  Let them know they can be anything they want to be.  Teach them that hard work pays off and it’s not always about getting the right answer, it’s about being willing to raise your hand and try.  It’s ok to try something and it not work out.  That’s how we learn.  All too often parents want to make their kids’ lives easy and want to prevent them from ever feeling disappointment.  That’s understandable, but   News Flash – that’s how kids learn.  They learn by trying and falling and getting up and trying again.  What if they were never allowed to fall when they were learning to walk?  They would never know how to get back up and try walking.   They would never walk if we picked them up and carried them after the first fall.  Remember this when they don’t make the team or fail a test or have a fall out with a friend or don’t get the lead in the school play.  None of this is failing – it’s learning.  Not everyone gets a trophy and that’s ok.  You just try harder next time.  There’s always a next time.  These are the moments that they take with them into adulthood.  It all starts right here, right now.  Enjoy every moment!  They are watching you and how to behave and what you say.  Make it meaningful and positive.  You are their greatest teacher.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to get a new box of Crayola’s and a lunch box.  Happy school year!!!

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  • Linda August 16, 2013, 8:50 am

    Shawna – excellent! I especially liked ” It’s about being willing to raise your hand and try”.

    • shawna August 16, 2013, 9:11 am

      Thanks Linda! I think sometimes we focus on the result or the grade rather than trying. I know I have in the past!

  • Brooke August 16, 2013, 9:41 am

    Great reminders!