We are exactly one week away from back to school. This year Molly is heading into grade 3. Wow. Every time I say that (or type it) I can’t quite wrap my head around it. Grade 3. Last year she was in a 2/3 split so she spent her days with older kids. And and at that stage in life a year age difference is big. This year she will be in a 3/4 split so it should be interesting! I’ve got a great kid. Seriously. She is smart and funny as hell. She has a huge heart. She’s sassy (those eye rolls). She has a vocabulary that never ceases to amaze me. In fact, everything about her is constantly amazing me. Don’t be fooled. Raising this kid is not a breeze. She is constantly challenging me. Pushing my buttons. Some days, she exhausts me to my very core. But that’s just how this parenting thing works. We muddle though. We do our best.
In these days leading up to Molly’s return to school I’ve been thinking a lot about how not easy those years can be. We think about all of our adult responsibilities. All the things we have on our plates. The stress we often find ourselves under. And it’s easy to forget about what it was like trying to navigate being a kid. Because, just like us, they muddle through it. They do their best. We help them map it out as best we can, knowing that we can’t do it all for them. That all of the experiences they have now, the good, the bad, the happy and the sad – all of it will shape the kind of person they will grow up to be. We have to let them live it all. But we don’t need to send them out there blind. There are so many things we can teach them to start them out on the right path.
Back to school advice for my third grader
1. Always be yourself
No, you are not perfect, but you are awesome. Don’t hide who you are. True friends are the ones who love you for your strengths and your flaws.
2. You will make mistakes and that’s ok
This is a big one for you. I know you hate making mistakes. Sometimes you’d rather not do a thing then take the chance that you might do it wrong. But you never learn if you don’t try. And you never succeed if you don’t accept that sometimes you are going to fail.
3. You won’t be everyone’s cup of tea
We are not all destined to be best friends. Or even friends at all. There will be people you click with and people you won’t. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you or with them.
4. Try to be kind
So, we already talked about the fact that not everyone you meet will be your buddy. But you don’t have to be besties with someone to treat them with kindness. And I know that won’t always be easy. That some days some people wish push your buttons and your first instinct may not be to react with kindness. But try your best. Empathy is a skill that takes time to master. You’ve got time.
5. Be the person people trust
Trust is one of the most important qualities that we look for in the people the want we to be around. Being honest, truthful and dependable are traits that will keep getting more and more important as you get older. You’re already off to a great start with this. Keep it up!
6. Stand up
Stand up for yourself, and stand up for others. If something doesn’t feel right, do something or say something.
7. Work hard
Yes school can be fun, it’s suppose to be a least a little bit fun when you’re 8. But it’s also about learning. So pay attention in class. Do your best. Be a good student.
8. Talk to me
I’m always here for you. If you’ve had a great day I want to hear about it. If you’ve had a rough day I want to hear about that too. I might now always be able to make it better but I will always, always listen. And I will always care.
9. Tomorrow is a new day
Tomorrow always comes. We always get a fresh, new day to make our own. To make the most of. If today was great, tomorrow can be too. If today was crappy, well tomorrow can be better.