I loved school.
Every single thing about it. I loved my teachers, my friends, the silly theme days. I loved Friday Night Lights, band concerts, fundraisers and school traditions. I loved being the little sister of the older brothers (and I swear for more reasons than their cute friends.)
I just loved it.
And I just KNEW my kids would love school, too. And luckily, they have each found their groove and enjoy school for some of the same reasons I did.
What I didn't know is that I would also be going "back" to school...but in unchartered parenting territory.
The homework, the paperwork, the theme days, the LUNCH PACKING... I mean... I don't remember ANY of this being work before.
This stuff is tiring.
School was way more fun when I just got to wear cute outfits and show up.
The past two weeks have been parent/teacher conferences at our school. We've met with all the kids' teachers and we are proud that they are (mostly) good listeners, fast learners, and academically on track. But Ryan and I are most grateful that we got to hear how kind they are. Kindness matters so much and as Radley and I were heading home from a fun trip this weekend I noticed a family with two pre-teen girls.
We ended up sitting on the same row as them on the plane. I saw them laughing and pointing as they scrolled through pictures on their phones. Saying hateful and mean spirited things about everyone from celebrities to classmates. These two pre-teen girls while their mom laughed right along.
She didn't stop them. She didn't redirect their behavior. She didn't tell them to turn off their phone. She joined in.
I want to believe that she just wants to be "friends" with her kids - she wants to hang on to every ounce of them while she can. Maybe she wants to connect so they still want to hang out with her. But I also don't believe that it's our job to be "friends" with our kids.
This family could volunteer at a soup kitchen 5 hours a week. They could give every extra penny they have to noble causes. They could spend every Wednesday night in church and lead 15 bible studies. But all those stories of what they do with their time will never measure up to the hatefulness they spread with the seemingly insignificant laughing and pointing at a screen.
This back to school journey will be filled with far more lessons than reading and writing for us as parents. Our job is to teach and model kindness, acceptance, and love. I may not make the "all A honor roll" of motherhood. I won't make every field trip or help every day in the classroom. I'll miss some games and maybe forget to send them to school with crazy socks. And I will absolutely make them mad more times than I can comprehend.
I know my kids are going to be mean. They are going to hurt feelings and make bad choices. They will mess up 100 different times in 100 different ways. And I'll be right there next them, loving them enough to tell them no, make them mad and understand that in the long run... raising kind humans is much more important than raising my best-friend.