The Greeks among you will get the title of this post immediately: “Ο κάθε κατεργάρης στον πάγκο του”. It’s a saying we use when the holidays are over, and kids go back to school. As you non-Greeks might guess, it means “each to their work bench”, “no more games”, “no more messing around”.
When I was a kid, that saying used to give me butterflies in my tummy and feelings of apprehension. Well, in the last two weeks, those feelings have been coming back, and they are augmented!
My little girl has started primary school. She seems totally fine and dandy: excited to go to school, delighted to do homework, and full of beans when she gets back.
I, on the other hand, have been stressing about what goes on in the school, who her new friends are, whether her teachers are kind to her or not. Never did I expect to feel so anxious and overwhelmed. But having observed and listened to other first time school parents in my world, it seems I’m not the only one!
The emotionally heightened state brought on by the school start seems to be a general phenomenon.
The days before the school start, there was proper craziness going on at Clark’s, M&S, BHS. Swarms of people were trying to make last-minute purchases of uniforms and shoes. The day of the school start, well-wishing SMS flooded our message inboxes, and photos of mamas and dads accompanied by school – uniform – clad little kiddos flooded our Facebook News Feeds. And since the school start, conversations have been dominated by our vague understanding of phonics, break time etiquette, and the life long debate of packed lunches vs school dinners. (Why is the packed one called a lunch, and the school one called a dinner by the way? Makes no sense to me. Perhaps it’s something to do with Brits determining the name of a meal based on the type of food consumed, rather than the hour at which the food is consumed.)
I say our understanding is vague, because most little people don’t seem to want to volunteer information about what actually happens at school. They just come out and act like nothing major has been going on, nothing worth mentioning anyway. And we, the parents, are left begging for some small bit of understanding to satisfy our curiosity, and calm our worries.
I guess what calmed my worry a little, was a chat I had with my friend Suzie. Wise, as she is, she talked about the concept of trusting the school to do its assigned task: educate and discipline our kids. So in other words, trusting that our little rascals really are at their work benches. After all, we have, ourselves, chosen that particular work bench (read school). We just have to trust they are indeed working, learning, and growing. Easier said than done, I know. At least for some of us. But then again, constant worry will eventuate in exhaustion! So best not to