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Back to school – ugh

By Staff | Aug 13, 2009

Remember the dread you felt when the days of summer ticked away one day at a time until you had to go back to ugh school?

What started out in late June as an eternal vacation suddenly had an end to it. And as Labor Day approached you began to realize that your days of vacation bliss were numbered. School loomed initially an eternity away but now in a matter of days.

What an adjustment. From a care free existence to structured ritual. And to top it all off you were going to face a brand new teacher Miss Brown.

Oh, the stories you heard about mean Miss Brown how she would keep you after class on a whim if you couldn’t spell “metabolism” correctly. Miss Brown could melt you with one of her icy stares. While she could no longer apply the rod she sure found ways to make up for it.

Just what you needed after a fun filled and frolicsome summer. So you gather all your wits and say to your dad: “Dad, I’ve been thinking. I’m 12- years-old and think it’s high time I quit school and earn a living.”

Your dad doesn’t appear to be amused. He maintains a full library of child psychology books and is proud of the way he and mom are raising you. But he can’t remember reading about a 12-year-old who wants to quit school and go to work.

He tries to reason with you as step one in the process of raising children properly.

“Son, I’m sympathetic to what you’re saying but don’t you think you’re a bit young to quit school and get a job? What would you do?”

So your 12-year-old mind sees this as an opening and moves in for the kill. “Well, dad, I think I’ve learned everything I have to in school. Now it’s time to put it to use. I want to discover new continents.”

Your dad continues to want to reason with you. He still believes that logic and rational thinking will win the day.

“Son, I don’t believe there are any new continents to discover. If you look at a map you’ll find that all the continents have been discovered.”

“Then I’ll discover new planets in the universe. There must be continents on them that haven’t been discovered yet.”

“But, son, how will you get to these planets? We can’t even get back to the moon. These planets are millions of miles away and mankind hasn’t figured out how to get to them yet.”

You mull this over but are not deterred. “No problem, dad. My pals and I will go to Toys R Us and get a rocket ship building kit. We’ll build a rocket ship and head to the nearest planet.”

Good try, kiddo, but you haven’t made a dent in your dad’s credibility barometer. “Look, son, is this about Miss Brown? In your heart you know that you have to go back to school. You’ve got a lot more learning to do and the world isn’t ready for your rocket ship. Tell dad what’s really going on.”

Boy, dads can sure read you better than you sometimes give them credit for. He’s got you pegged. He sees right through you.

“Okay, dad. I hear that Miss Brown is very mean and stuff. She makes you do a lot of homework and gives the kids a hard time. I can stay home and learn on my own. I promise I will. Don’t make me go into Miss Brown’s class.”

Well, dad, this is the time to rise to the occasion. Your kid needs you to guide and comfort him. You need to lead the boy back to the classroom. The moment of parental truth is at hand. Dad thinks long and hard and says: “Son, when I was your age, I had the same problem. I had a wonderful summer vacation and hated the thought of going back to school. In fact, like you, I had to face a new teacher who also had a reputation for being strict and tough.”

You now begin to identify with your dad. “So what did you do, dad? Did you quit school and go to work?”

“No, son. As you will realize there was no way my parents your grandparents-would let me leave school. They wanted me to get an education and make something of myself. So I’ll tell you what my parents told me and what you’ll be telling your own children someday. My parents said that if you want to get to the dessert you’ll have to eat the spinach first. In other words, you have to work for everything you get.

“If you want to discover new planets later in life let Miss Brown show you how to get there. She’s great at that just as my teachers were. I wouldn’t be where I am today without those teachers. So be a big boy and go back to school and learn, learn, learn. Soak it up, son, get good grades and look forward to next summer.”

Your dad began to make sense.

“Well, dad, if I go back to school and take everything Miss Brown throws my way, will you promise me one thing?”

“What, son?”

“That you can help get me a summer job as the youngest astronaut ever?”

“I’ll try my very best, son.”