A friend posted on facebook that her daughter was headed to the bus stop. One of the comments on the post was "you are so lucky!!! My kids dont start till next week!!!"
Other parents have posted the Staples commercial that declares "It's the most wonderful time of the year again" because "Their going back!"
When a mother posts, "you are so lucky!!! My kids dont start till next week!!!" I wonder if her children are her facebook friends and know what she's posting. Then again, she is probably also saying it out loud in her home. Her children are hearing this message and, no matter what their age, they are internalizing, "I can't wait until you go away." In that moment it is hard to imagine that the child feels loved and cherished.
I used to send my children to school. I will admit that in the past I talked about how great it would be when my children were all in school. Then when they were in school, I did look forward to the beginning of school in the fall and the end of holiday vacations.
I also used to be that mother who yelled at her children and tried to control what they ate, when they slept, and tried to make them do chores. Notice that I use the word "tried" because I was not successful. Because I was not successful a vicious cycle of lack of success, more frustration and more yelling, which lead to less success and more frustration and more yelling, took over our family. You may not think that looking forward to the start of school and being a mother who yelled at her children are related. My life is an example of how directly connected they are.
When I stopped trying to control my children and started focusing on our relationship, and being respectful of them as people, things changed. When my relationship with my children changed from "controlling parent and child who should do what she was told", to "parent and child who are partners in the exploration of life" spending time together at home became easier, more fun and enjoyable. We have always been a family that had successful outings and enjoyed doing things together. We have always been a family that outsiders would look at and say "They are such a nice family." However, we have not always been a family that lived happily together in our home. For the most part it was because of me that our house was not always a place of peace, love and joy.
I changed my parenting before our children stopped going school. Because I changed how I was parenting my need for time away from my children decreased. Because I changed how I was parenting my children's desire to spend time with me increased. We have chosen to be a family who loves and supports each other. We have chosen to live a life of respect and connection. Because of this, our lives have been transformed. I can no longer imagine wanting my children to get on the bus and leave me for 7 hours. My children are sad when their friends go back to school, but they have no desire to get on the bus that drives past our house each day. Instead, on the first day of school we celebrate who we are as a family. In small ways we mark the day that reminds us how far we have come and the blessings of our chosen way of life.
If you are a parent who yells at your children and who looks forward to the first day of school I hope you will read the books that started me on this journey to a better life together as a family:"Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Punishment and Rewards to Love and Reason." by Alfie Kohn
"Raising our Children, Raising Ourselves: Transforming parent-child relationships from reaction and struggle to freedom, power and joy." By Naomi Aldort