Back to School

 I don’t remember being quite as sentimental when the bigger kids started school. For me it was just a natural progression – greeted with a sense of relief that the kids (one year apart in age) were finally moving on, becoming more independent, and growing up. God knows how badly I wanted to speed up the whole process. It did seem to take forever though – which, in retrospect, I’m glad for! But you know the old adage “be careful what you wish for” ‘cos kid number 3 sure grew up fast and here we are, January 2016 and starting ‘BIG school”
I must admit, things went better than I wanted it to. I was hoping he would want to hold my hand, maybe express his concerns, falter a little in his new environment…perhaps even look to me for reassurance. But in the end it was me who faltered when he let go of my hand and hurried forward to soak up his new surroundings. When he confidently spotted his name tag. When he didn’t hesitate to find a seat and make a friend. Instead it was me who looked to my mom for support and encouragement, who fought back emotions, who clung to the moment a little too long… I suppose the whole process was made easier knowing the support structures are firmly in place. Siblings are on the same premises. Cousins doubling up as brothers… And just like that, we’ve transitioned into the new year and are back into the swing of things.
I get asked a lot – and I mean A LOT – about schools and the whole schooling process. As parents, we all want the very best for our kids and many times, parents from my generation base their decision on giving their kids the kind of education we never had. Schooling is very often greeted with anxiety and stress from the parents who often send out applications as soon as the child is born! I too went into a wild panic when my first 2 kids needed to start school, but what I’ve learnt is that there is no single equation that fits all.
One can go into endless debates over co-ed vs same sex schools, private vs model C, the overcrowded government schools, sporting facilities,  etc. Add to that Madressa (religious studies), the too and fro carting, and the cycle of a working mom…the struggle is endless to find a formula that works. And so even though my kids didn’t land up at my initial choice of school, it certainly turned out to be the best choice for us as a unit!
My parting statement and word of advice is that there is no perfect school. In life we are never handed perfect conditions. It is up to us as parents to help create balanced individuals, to mentor and guide and assist our kids in helping them thrive.  

Thanks for reading!

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