A lot happens between those first timid tiptoes through the kindergarten doorway and those last confident steps from the graduation stage – and not just for the students.
As the school years pass, parents and families evolve with their children. They find community. They embrace life's stages. They learn to let go.
The lessons learned as a family navigates childhood are unique, yet similar, and best when shared. For that reason, Legacy Christian Academy hosts a “Boohoo/Yahoo” event on the first day of each school year. The occasion brings together the moms of graduating seniors and the moms of new kindergarten students. It's a time to reflect and look ahead, to reveal uncertainties and impart wisdom.
At this year's event, senior mom, Amy Robison, shared her thoughts on the journey between kindergarten and graduation. With a daughter newly graduated, and another daughter beginning her senior year, Amy knows what it takes to make each family transition successful.
Here are Amy's 5 tips for surviving and thriving during the school years:
#1: Celebrate all the “lasts.”
Instead of watching time past with wistful eyes, celebrate each and every milestone. As Amy shared:
“I know there will be many ‘lasts' this year for [my senior daughter] Alex: last first day of school pic in front of the fireplace, last homecoming, last football season, last prom, last time wearing that awesome plaid skirt…
“And I could dwell on that, and I could put every last one of those last events on Facebook for you all to see and we could mourn and cry together, or I could choose instead to treasure each of those moments, take them in and truly just sit back and enjoy them. I can enjoy the young lady Alex has grown up to be, enjoy her excitement in making senior memories with lifelong friends, and enjoy the plans she is making for the future.”
#2: Embrace all the “firsts.”
During times of transition, it can be easy to let moments fly by in a flurry of family busyness. So remember to reflect on each of the new steps your family is taking together. Amy said:
“Last year I watched a lot of good friends spend August to May in a state of mourning and dread. They lamented, cried, and frankly wallowed in self-pity for the changes that were coming to their families.
“Now, I'll admit I had a few of those moments with [my oldest daughter] Caroline, but for the most part, I enjoyed. I yahooed. I embraced her ‘firsts.' Her first college application and acceptance, her graduation and the events surrounding it, picking out items for her dorm room. And I'm so thankful I chose to invest the bulk of my time and energy enjoying my daughter.”
#3: Accept your evolving role as parent.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. It's true in life, and it's true in parenting. Amy saw this play out firsthand as her children grew, and she said:
“A friend told me a few years ago that in that last year with your child at home, the role of parent can take a new direction. You might find yourself becoming more of a life coach than a disciplinarian, taxi driver, or homework checker. Let's face it; most of us can't help with their homework anymore anyway. I know I can't.
“Take as many opportunities as you can to teach them those last things they just can't leave home without knowing. That can be simple things like how to follow a GPS without getting lost, locking their doors at night, and keeping a full tank of gas…to bigger things like not judging others too quickly, spending plenty of time in prayer and worship, and that they shouldn't be afraid to try new things.”
#4: Find a fit for your family.
Whether it's choosing the right school, or finding your community within the school, it's important to nurture connections not only within your family, but also within your peer group. Amy suggests to fellow LCA families:
“Find some people here that you love. Find families that share your values (they are plentiful here), dive in and do life together. It's an awesome way to experience LCA and your child's schooling in general. And trust me, for the boohoo-ers and yahoo-ers alike, 3:00 will be here before you know it. And then it will be Christmas, and then it will be May, and then frankly, it will be summer again in the blink of an eye. Enjoy every moment because each day with these kiddos is a gift from God.”
#5: Choose to make most moments ones of joy.
Amy is right – the school years are really what you make them as a family. It can be easy to get lost in the minutiae, but if you are able to look both backward and ahead with a joyful heart, the years will be blessed. Take away these final words from Amy:
“It can be whatever you make it. It can be full of dread and fear and angst because we will all have those moments… But I will CHOOSE to make most of the moments ones of joy. It will be a year of excitement for my girl's future. A year of not putting her list of lasts on Facebook but instead walking away from my computer and spending precious time with and pouring endless love into an amazing young lady. I hope you'll do the same.”
Here at Legacy Christian Academy, we are so grateful to Amy Robison for sharing her heartfelt messages with our parent community – and we hope her words make whatever season your family is in one that is filled with hope, love, and anticipation.
Watch Amy's full speech below, and let us know: What advice would YOU give to the parent of a younger student? Share in the comments section, or email us back.