Monday, August 15, 2011

What I love about sending my kids to school

I'm excited. School started back today. Nathan is moving up in the world. He starts 5th grade at a new school. Matthew begins life as a 3rd grader. Levi officially begins going all day like his big brothers on Thursday.

Now, I'm not just excited because they are out of the house, which just happens to be my office.

I've been thinking a lot about why I'm excited.
  • Going to school helps my boys develop independence. As a parent that is one thing I want for them. I want for them to eventually be able to live without me. I've always said that a main goal in parenting is to learn to de-parent. This is one reason why we don't do homework or project for our boys. Sure we'll help if they are stuck, but they have to learn to take responsibility of their own work. School helps develop this in them and grows them as individuals who can contribute to society. Nathan is riding the bus home for the first time in his educational career. That's a big, exciting step for a 10 year old. I figure he'll be driving alone in 6 years. He needs this kind of baby step now to prepare him for that giant leap.
  • Going to public school puts my kids in an environment where they can learn what it means to be salt and light. I want my kids to be missionaries. They can't do that if they are only surrounded by like-minded kids or me. One day they are going to enter the real world. Our real world is growing more secular by the day. I want them to learn now how to be salt and light and live for Jesus in that world.
  • Going to school opens my boys up to a whole new level of experiences that they would never get at home. Nathan's starting band this year. He's already begun jammin' on his beginner percussion kit. Matthew is in the gifted and talented program (something I was never invited to be a part of) and the Creations Honors Art program (something that doesn't go to people who's best artwork is crooked stick figures... like me).
  • Finally (at least for now), going to school opens up the doors for my kids to make new friends and learn how to navigate relationships. Relational Intelligence is something I want my kids to develop and putting them in a context where they can make new friends and deal with kids who aren't so nice or who aren't like them is the best way to put them on a path that leads to relational intelligence.
That's why I'm excited about today. I can't wait for 3 PM to get here to hear all about school on day one. Now I'm enjoying the silence.

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