Wednesday, September 7, 2016

BACK TO SCHOOL AND THE FUTURE

Back to school madness - the regular morning routines - hockey, Shallaway, voice lessons, dance and study/homework and balancing life, bills and work.

It really, just feels like yesterday,  that my oldest guy Aidan headed out the door to attend Kindergarten at Virginia Park Elementary. 

A late November baby - he was noticeably less prepared for the detachment from the nest than many of his peers. In fact, Kristine and I considered holding him back a year. As the weeks ticked by he found his groove, made friends andhe  started to become independent. Today, my little buddy - whose arrival in 1999 changed my entire world view  and sense  of purpose - started Level III. Where does the time go?

He is now a young man starting the foundation of his future.  This is going to be a year of reflection, investigation, intellectual growth, hard work  and focus. The real world is just around the corner.  Senior year is certainly not a year to slack off!

Looking back to when I was 16 going on 17, where was my head, what were my aspirations?

I certainly was not focussed, I had an unhealthy distain for math, a phobia about public speaking and a great interest in politics that was strengthened by a trip the previous year to Terry Fox Center in Ottawa.  The goal was to get from the visitors gallery to the floor of the House of Commons. My future boss, Roger Simmons, arranged for me to meet Pierre Trudeau who shook my hand and took me onto the floor of esteemed green carpeted legislature. 

I wanted to be a journalist or a lawyer.  Heady times, the world was wide open in front of me. In many respects, I wish that the partisan political bug had not bitten me so early. In retrospect, it might have been better to have concentrated on my academics and not spent my adolescence and twenties playing fixer and mixing the Kool Aid to serve others. However, regrets only weigh you down with mental garbage. 

Never one to suck up, and often the first to question policy that ran counter my Liberal ideology, I just liked being close to the action, influencing policy, learning the game and especially helping people to the best of my abilities. 

I was lucky to have parents that erred more towards being strict. They wanted us to have good study and work habits, to care about our community, to be respectful and honest. They kept the lines of communication open and reinforced their believe in our potential. 

Of course, as kids grow older many of these things are beyond a parents control. We can not reach our children everything, shelter them from reality or do everything for them. What we can do is play that critical role in providing them with the mindset and tools to be successful and achieve their potential. We can help shape attitudes, work habits, their sense of self, personal confidence and persistence to achieve instead of accepting just getting by. Sure, I find it awkward to have conversations with them as they grow older. At Times they are defensive, independent, guarded and embarrassed easily, but keeping two way communication flowing instills mutual respect. Thank God for video games, classic rock and a sense of camaraderie.

At the end of the day, we can only prepare them for life's challenges through our own experiences, good and bad, our expectations and by instilling a sense of pride in purpose. We all want our children to be successful, happy and well adjusted. 

So far so good, but padawans, the journey is just beginning!








No comments: