Thursday, September 04, 2008

"It Was The First Day Of The First Grade..."

Hello All,

A few days ago, I drove my daughter to school for her first day of first grade. This was not her first day of school, as she has successfully navigated through, count them, 4 different schools and 5 different teachers! One of the schools was in Spain and two of the teachers were on the same campus last year. In an effort to provide some stability, Lela and I decided to hold her in Kindergarten and prayerfully, we'll see that pay off this year.

Going back to the driving part, let me take a moment and complain just a tad. Driving in Ladera, a society based largely on "the round" philosophy of courteous driving, really stinks when you are all going to the same place at the same time! Very frustrating, but I'm going to heaven so that takes care of that!

Now, here's what I wanted to write about. I parked the car and got Renae out as always. We walked to her line on the playground, which is a departure from last year, when I drove her up and a kind old gentleman escorted her to her line. This year, no gentleman and no singular class. The entire school is on the blacktop! Also, it's roughly an hour and some earlier. Add to this that it's the first day, everything is new, and it may just explain what happened next.

You see, Renae just stood there and processed all that she was seeing and the reality of this situation. We had been talking about the first day of school for a good while, so this was no surprise. I just wish that I had some insight into what was happening at this moment. She looked around and around, not saying anything, but thinking a mile a minute.

I spoke a few things to her, but as a parent, you know when things are simply falling on deaf ears.

"Are you ok?"


"Do you want anything?"


"Can I borrow money from your allowance?"


She was in a total zombie state. I couldn't help but wonder if she was thinking about friendships, or assignments or how she would play on this new blacktop with all the "big kids." Maybe she was just overwhelmed, but I wanted to proverbially, yell in her face, across the chasm that separated me from her thoughts, and scream


These people, these grades, these moments are not what makes up a life. These people, with some exceptions, will not be aware of your existence in a few years. By High School, virtually none of these kids, statistically speaking, will have influence in your life. These grades, aside from dictating your entry into another grade, will have little impact upon your life, except for maybe traumatizing you temporarily at the thought of having to repeat a grade. And these moments, that seem so significant now, will be a vague memory of your past, that you will struggle to recall, and then only partially.

Some of you might be thinking that I am anti-education. You would be mistaken. I am pro-education, though I might define that a bit different than you think. I am all about learning what it is that you are passionate about. Let kids go straight to college after they have learned the rudimentary stuff, and let them pick. Are you a musician? These are classes for you. You want to make a life out of creative doylie making? Hey, great! Here's a great business class with a master doylie maker!

"But hey, she's in first grade! Lighten up!"

Yeah, I hear you. But I struggle with moments like these ("I sing out a song...") where my daughter, son, or daughter, might value something other than what Christ thinks about them. Any other institution that competes for that moment or that place of significance, I hope, I pray, will pale in comparison to their Lord and God's place.

Now, before you object, I realize that many of you, found through the vehicle of schooling, God's will and path for your life. Good. And that is the way I want them to appropriate not just school, but any other vehicle in life.

"In this school, I might just be exposed to what God wants me to do in my life."

"In youth group, I hope that God will speak to me through the various events, etc."

"In church, I pray that God will powerfully move me toward His mission for my life."

That is different than:

"This (insert pet institution) defines (success, popularity, wisdom, life) this way. I need to acheive that."

Then again, she was probably just thinking about playing "War" with Daddy, a game she has already beaten me 3 times at since learning it on Monday! Yeah, I'm probably overreacting, but I hope that her confidence, her view of life, her passion and love will all be found in the only place where it can really come from for anyone, in Jesus Christ.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez


Patty said...

Although it may be true that you may be reliving you're own anxiety of the first day of an elementary school year, I am so blessed to see that you aren't so grown up that you can't remember that feeling. I was and still am the same way with my kids. I get a big hurt in my heart when I hear parents say "Oh it's no big deal. They'll do fine." because even though might be true, our kids need to know that we understand how they're feeling, at their level of importance. I love how you were concerned about her and what she was thinking. You know it's really true what they say...."They grow up so fast." We saw Isy go to college this week. I'm totally feeling ya dude =D.

Frank & Lela said...

Thanks Patty!

I definitely agree that my feelings about school and life color my perceptions. More than anything, I am bummed that I let all of that (institutions) influence me when I was growing up. I just hope their experience will be different.

Isy in COLLEGE! SHEESH. I remember him adamantly telling me when he took his first drum lesson back at the Highland house, that he wanted to build roller coasters. I had never heard anything like that before, but he was determined back then to do that. Funny how things change.

Say hi to Steve and make him watch the "Korean Drummer Steals The Show" youtube video. He will love it!


Carrie Marie said...

But there is value in "general education". If the school took me directly over to what I was "passionate" about in 1st grade, i'd be a Laker Girl.

Finally, at the age of 22, I realized my dream of being a Laker Girl was ending...and I studied the Bible.