Summer comes to an end and a new school year surfaces. Every where we turn there are signs letting us know it’s time to get back to school. Students hustle to buy school supplies, learn new schedules, update their Fall wardrobe, and say farewell to their long summer break. While we may not be enrolled in a brick and mortar learning institution, we are students of life.
Remember sitting in class watching the second hand tick by on the clock, thinking when will I ever use this in real life? What if our entire academic career wasn’t so much about the curriculum, as much as it is about the lessons the school year offers us? If we use school as a guide for life, we can actually make our experiences richer and more focused post-academia.
Going back to school teaches us 4 major life lessons:
Each school year, kids experience a large amount of change – schools, classes, teachers, peers, and the expectations given to them. But after we graduate, this stops. We get a job and stay put for several years; there is no break with the exception of paid vacation and there is very little change in structure. A stagnant environment can breed complacency and unhappiness. While change is a stressor, it isn’t necessarily a negative one.
Whether physical or energetic, change is actually very good for you because it:
Lesson: Get outside your comfort zone. It’s required of our little ones, so why not of ourselves. A few examples of the changes you can make yearly or monthly include: changing your route to work, your yoga studio, choosing a new travel destination, or seeking new cultural events.
While we tell our kids "don’t talk to strangers", the truth is our kids are meeting strangers each new school year – from their teachers to the kid sitting next to them. Meeting new people allows us to learn from others, it helps us keep an open mind, and it makes us more compassionate.
Lesson: Say hi and smile to a stranger. It’s the easiest way to make someone’s day and yours. Connecting to others is the best way to foster a more loving environment from which all of us with thrive.
Kids grow fast so by the time the new school year is in session, legs are longer and feet are bigger. It’s time to go shopping. Kids have a distinct idea of their style –they may not understand “matching” and they also don’t care.
Lesson: Style yourself with clothes that are meaningful to you and feel good on. You get to decide how your outer canvas matches your inner one. If your free spirit is yearning to be set free, try wearing bohemian-inspired fashions. If you're a wallflower in bloom, wear bright colors and fun prints.
Each quarter kids come home with a report card assessing their progress and achievements. Students who want to excel will take these marks and try harder to raise the grades. Whether it is extra credit, getting a tutor, or studying longer, students are always on the path of improvement. So why aren’t we?
Lesson: Write down goals for the week, for the month and for the year. Then check back regularly to see how you are coming along. Performing a self-evaluation shouldn’t be daunting, but rather a time of reflection, purpose and understanding.
We should give kids more credit for going back to school each year. In their young years, they are learning so much. Let's use those lessons for life.
The bell is ringing. School is back in session. Are you in enrolled?
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