How exciting the first day of school is! It is a new beginning, a brand new start and it begins a year filled with promise. There is always a little apprehension as students wonder who they will be in class with, what their teacher will be like and if the classes will be interesting and within their ability.
It is helpful for our children to begin the new adventure, or any transition, knowing that they are supported and loved unconditionally, no matter what. It gives them confidence to know that if they are unsuccessful at a test, struggle to make a new friend in the class, or seem to antagonize the teacher, they can come home to love, support and encouragement. Very few people transition flawlessly, without some anxiety or issues, and most adults do not embrace change.
With change comes opportunity! Teach this to your children. Model it and point it out. Reinforce it. At a recent graduation ceremony in Israel, Shimon Perez said “it is better to dream than to remember!” This is the charge by which we should parent, encouraging our kids to look to the future, to harness the opportunity, to embrace new challenges, moving forward into a brighter future and succeeding more and more a little at a time, knowing that if they don’t succeed or suffer a temporary set-back, they can fall back into the loving arms of their family. _
Sue Penn is the mother of three, Director of Congregational Learning at University Synagogue, president of Jewish Reconstructionist Educators of North America and a member of the Jewish Educators Assembly.