Tuesday, September 02, 2008

School

It's the kids' first day of school.  They should be getting home soonish.  I can't wait to hear how their day went.  Although they'd rather stay home and sleep, they were both excited to go and were all grins this morning.  

I have to say that schools have changed for the better in some ways.  I've always been a bit different than other kids--a refugee with enough cultural difference that I stood out, physically different especially with the broad shoulders and clearly Slavic features, intellectually different (ask anyone about my weird political views and off-kilter sense of humor) and so on.  I never understood fashion in high school.  I carried a violin to school most days.  

As a result I was an outsider, bullied by a few, feared by a few (which is so weird!) and admired by a few by the time I reached high school but by then I was so jaded it took a while to win me over.  I didn't make friends--they would throw me signs of acceptance until I'd take a chance (always assuming they'd mock me) and be friendly toward them.

My kids are clearly far more different than I ever was.  But the combination of local schools hammering home the acceptance of diversity, combined with the remarkable confidence their father taught them and their own tenacity and personalities that don't give as much weight to the opinions of others as I did have given them an entirely different educational experience.

I'm so very, very glad for them.  I wasn't completely miserable through every hour of all my school years, but I was afraid, and miserable for a large enough proportion that sometimes I wish I could go back and do it over.  I would have loved to have taken greater advantage of the recreational, social and educational opportunities available.  I would have worked harder at music and language, networked social groups to freeze out bullies (they're always outnumbered--we just didn't know it back then) and gone nuts with the extracurricular stuff.  I would have been less worried about what others thought and more concerned with learning and having fun.

Which is exactly what my kids are doing.  One is more academically interested than the other, but they're both taking advantage of the opportunities available to them.

I had to grow up the hard way.  It was who I was, and the times I grew up in, and going back might be a fun intellectual exercise but honestly school is for kids and I'm a grown up who needs to move on to grown up things.  Yeah yeah, child at heart, but I'm a mature child that prioritizes and can delay gratification (most of the time) and that sets big goals that most children are afraid of once they start learning about the ramifications.  I live fantasies, and that's a very fun thing.  The kids are living an enjoyable reality, and I'm excited to see how far they'll go from their very different launching points.

2 comments:

Things that puzzle this other goddess.... said...

It gives me hope to hear that times have changed and that some schools have too! :) I'm so glad that your kids are confident enough in themselves to take advantage of the oportunities. (I'm just as sure that YOU with your off-beat sense of humor and all had a bit to do with it as well *grin*)
ttptog

Kami said...

Hopefully I contributed to their sanity, or lack thereof, in a positive way.

Kids still have it tough, but boy, they have no idea and I'm glad they don't. I don't believe I learned any positive social lessons in school except how to endure abuse and, very late in high school, how to survive by identifying with a group. That second part was actually very valuable, now that I think about it.

But it wasn't until college that I learned how to make friends on my own, and my personality (for better or worse) blossomed. Once I didn't have to hide anymore, I was able to grow. It's great to see the kids growing at a much younger age than I did.