Memory Lane: First day of school

The big yellow bus just passed by my window carrying children on their way to the first day of the new school year.  I love this day!  Every year I have the biggest grin on my face as I stand and wait at the window for this to happen.  Yes, even though I don’t have children and I’m not going to be there myself!–I still do this!

I get excited about all of the possibilities they will have in the upcoming year:  new teachers, new friends, new knowledge…new notebooks and pencils and all kinds of other really cool school supplies!  And, once again, yes, I know that makes me more than a bit of a school nerd.

I’m ok with that.  In fact, I think it’s a pretty great thing to be!  I wish every child could have the joy and anticipation about going to school that accompanied me throughout most of my educational experience!  I wish they could ALL have the kinds of dedicated teachers who were determined to inspire that joy of learning and be personally invested in the success of each of their students the way I had at that age.

This morning, I’m also smiling because I remember that very first day of first grade which I was so excited about…right up until I got there and discovered that they didn’t even know my name!  Can you imagine?!  That’s when it suddenly became unthinkable that my mother would turn me over to a bunch of people who were supposed to know more than I did…but didn’t even know my name!  In my whole six years of life I’d never been anywhere that had happened before!  This school thing had one strike against it and the first bell hadn’t even rung yet!

Oh, my mother had pre-registered me as she was supposed to do, but something had obviously gone horribly wrong in the process because my teacher…on her first day of her career…tried to pin a yellow lion-shaped name tag with the word “Rebecca” on it…on me.  I refused.  She asked “why not?” and I responded that that wasn’t the right tag.  She assured me that it was and tried again.  I assured her that it wasn’t and asked her to look again.  We reached a stalemate pretty quickly on this one.

No, I couldn’t read every word on the walls around her classroom yet, but I did know who I was…and it wasn’t Rebecca.  That simply was not an option.  I was also smart enough to know that if I allowed that liberty to pass, I’d be Rebecca for the rest of my life…and I wasn’t Rebecca at all.  I was Becky.  They could all just get over it and do me a new one!

Oh, I was polite in my refusal–my mother would have tanned my hide if I hadn’t been!–but I was absolutely adamant.  It was not happening.  So right there, in the middle of all the first day of school chaos, my new teacher let her aide take over the greeting at the door and she cut out a new name tag for me…some other animal shape that I don’t even remember, but I know it was pink and it had my “proper” name on it this time.  (grin)

Knowing who you are is important.  It’s just slightly more so than knowing who you don’t want to be.  You need to have a good idea about both of those things in order to do life in ways that make sense and gives you a path to follow.  Even at six I knew that and I was happy to find that the people who were going to teach me all the things I’d need to know  were smart enough to know that, too.


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