Monday, September 7, 2009

day 1, lesson 1

Two of my late summer tasks this year were a dichotomy. I helped my daughter move out of our house and into an apartment she found near her new job. On the reverse action, I helped my son prepare for first grade. My daughter moved out about ten days ago and so today most of my time was spent with my son.

We reviewed our summer highlights. Learning how to swim, grasping how to ride a bike without training wheels, and tying a worm on a hook to snare a fish were some tops on the list. One of the low points was not being able to attend a birthday party to which he had been invited. I figured that parents of six year olds could strive for more appropriate behavior than mock battles with toy guns in a mixed group of graduating kindergartners. My son still would have preferred the party, but I believe teachable moments are great opportunities and I would rather drive through them cautiously than to steer away from them altogether.

Tonight, as he was becoming familiar with his new school backpack, we reviewed what to expect at his first day of first grade and what kind of behavior we expect of him. He read a couple of short books and dozed off to sleep. Almost simultaneously, our phone rang. Upon answering I was greeted by an automated message from the Superintendent of our school district. The announcement was to inform me that it is okay for me to send my son to school tomorrow and that the district is aware that many parents are concerned about the children viewing President Obama’s address to the students. However, in order to ease those worries, the schools will be previewing the President’s remarks first and then allowing appropriate grades a later viewing.

I chuckled at the word ‘appropriate’. I suppose a teachable moment awaits us in the morning. Day 1, grade 1, lesson 1: tolerance, even in the face of ignorance.

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