For parents with kids in school, this was a big week.
It’s the transition from school to summer. Like most years, my boys, who are finishing fifth and third grades, respectively, were eager to throw their bookbags in the corner one last time. Carson even took his book bag up to his room, and it hasn’t been seen since. I’m guessing it’s under his bed because that’s his spot for all things when he’s done with them.
Each school year with my kids is full of highlights and lowlights. There are success stories and failures (or more like when they did not meet expectations). Overall, there have been far more positives, and each has a list of proud achievements.
The end of school for Beckett this year marked a significant moment in his life. He’s officially finished lower school and becoming a middle schooler. That means he’s been at Worcester Prep for seven years now. It’s incredibly hard to believe he’s reached the halfway point of his education journey at the school. I am proud of his hard work because if he hadn’t put in the time and effort he never would have succeeded.
For Carson, this week marked the end of his sixth year at Ocean City Elementary School, as he started school when he was 3 years old in the early intervention program. Who teaches and works with Carson at school is a constant concern for us. By virtue of his disabilities, including an Autism diagnosis and an inability to speak, we rely on his education team heavily to communicate with us. Like most years at his school, his teachers have been excellent at letting us know about Carson’s day. Positives or negatives, we need to know so we can praise and build him up or give a consequence and explain the need to do better the next day.
During the last week of school, a wonderful tradition my wife started when both kids started school was having their teachers place a message and sign a copy of the Dr. Seuss book “Oh, The Places You’ll Go.” It’s truly one of my favorite books and on the last week of school Pam sends the books in with the kids. I enjoy reading the comments made by each kid’s teachers over the years. It reminds me annually how fortunate our kids have been to be touched by amazing educators who care on a profound level about making a difference in the lives of their students. We never take that for granted because not all families can say their children are taught by caring, involved and dedicated educators.
While reading the teachers’ individual comments, some of which are touching and heartfelt, it’s impossible not to be overwhelmed by memories of years gone by. One teacher told Carson this year, “I’m a better teacher and person from knowing you.” That’s an amazing thing to say about our kid who by nature of his disabilities made her life a living hell at points throughout the last nine months. We are grateful for her and her impact on our kid and us. The same can be said for all my kids’ teachers over the past year.
The text of the book is always meaningful as well. If you’ve never read it, I recommend it. Excerpts of the text are below but the illustrations make it special too.
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
Any direction you choose.
You’ll look up and down streets. Look ’em over with care.
About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
You’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.
And you may not find any
You’ll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
You’ll head straight out of town.
It’s opener there
In the wide open air.
Out there things can happen
And frequently do
To people as brainy
And footsy as you.
And when things start to happen,
Don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.
THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!
You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
Who soar to high heights.
You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
Except when you don’ t
Because, sometimes, you won’t.
You’ll get mixed up, of course,
As you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
With many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
And remember that Life’s
A Great Balancing Act.
You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So …. get on your way!’