13 Things to Learn in School

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I have two children in elementary school and for some reason it seems like a much different scene than it was four years ago when my nine year old started kindergarten. We just dropped her off at class and that was it. Now I seem to be thinking about things more than I did before. Did we make the right choice of school? Will she do okay in a classroom setting? Will she like school? Will she remember to ask for help? Will my husband and I adjust to having two kids in school? Will I miss the kids more?

To get myself through the transition I made myself a list of 13 things I hope my kids will do or at least think about in school:

  1. Kindergarten: Have fun! Be yourself, and don’t be afraid to get dirty!
  1. First Grade: Learn to enjoy reading, and don’t be afraid to read Green Eggs and Ham 100 times if you want to.
  1. Second Grade: Don’t get frustrated with cursive hand writing, or math. Explore the world around you, and don’t forget to have fun.
  1. 3rd Grade: Have fun with class projects. Learn all about a city or place far away from where you live.
  1. 4th Grade: Be creative, and enjoy learning. There are so many different things to be learned this year. And I really hope you are having fun.
  1. 5th Grade: Learn that it is okay to do something slow, and master that something when you can.
  1. 6th Grade: Don’t be afraid to be yourself, and definitely don’t be afraid to speak your mind.
  1. 7th Grade: Love yourself, and realize that there are lots of other awkward kids out there just like you. And speaking from experience, don’t let your parents tell the principal that you don’t have enough homework.
  1. 8th Grade: Remember that if there was ever a true definition of the subject of Algebra it would be: Hard-As-Hell.
  1. 9th Grade: Enter high school with an open mind. Do what you want to do because you want to, not because someone else told you not to or told you to do so. And by now I really hope you realize how much fun you really should be having in school.
  1. 10th Grade: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. And tell your parents you don’t need a “student driver” sticker for the back of their car, and that they don’t need to yell “cat” as you come to an intersection to get your attention while you are learning to drive.
  1. 11th Grade: Don’t turn away a friend in need. Don’t be afraid to ask a teacher, counselor, or even the school principal for advice.
  1. 12th Grade: You have made it, and college is around the corner, but study what you want in college even if it won’t pay the bills after college or your parents don’t understand it. Play the sports you always wanted to play, act the part in the play you always wanted, and don’t be afraid to follow your dreams. You didn’t spend 13 years in school learning the tools to succeed if you had no plans to use them in the real world.

………And please tell me that at some point during the last 13 years in school you at least had some fun in school.

-Annie P.

Where Would I Be Without My Dad?

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Where would I be without my dad?

That is a pretty simple question, right? The first answer that comes to mind is that I wouldn’t be here at all, and well yeah that’s probably right, but that’s not the answer I am looking for.

I wouldn’t be here today on the verge of turning 38 without the confidence I received from my dad.

I wouldn’t be writing this article if it wasn’t for the confidence I received as a child from my dad. My dad was always one of those dads who never said no if you really wanted to learn something, but I was always one of those kids who might have think twice or even three times before starting something new, and then had to think really hard about wanting to finish it. I remember being 8 years old and my dad taking me to the tennis courts to play tennis with him and my then 5 year old brother. My brother was good from the get go, where as I needed help, and my dad was always encouraging me, and instilling the confidence in me that I could be a good tennis player as well. He did the same thing about 10 years later when our church was forming a choral group for the weekly youth mass. It wasn’t something I initially thought about, but I figured I would show up anyways; the choral group turned into a trio because only 3 girls showed up. I was scared out of mind, but I did it and I learned that as tone deaf as I thought I sounded I could sing in a trio. My dad who couldn’t read a note of music, but could sing anyways had the confidence to join the adult choir, so why couldn’t I?

When I decided to major in communications in college because I wanted to study broadcasting my dad never discouraged me from it because he wanted me to study what I wanted to study. I needed his confidence even more my junior year when I moved 500 miles away from home, and I got an F on a college paper, and wanted to go back to my old university where school hadn’t been such a challenge. Confidence and knowing that I was doing something I loved and my parents approved of kept me going.

When I was offered a full time job crunching numbers for the government a year out of college, did I turn it down because I didn’t take a single business class in college? Nope, I used the confidence I had gained from my dad who had a career as a wine salesman, and jumped right in. Almost 15 years later I am still crunching numbers for the government.

I look at the confidence I received from my dad, and I hope that I am giving that same confidence to my daughters as they grow up. I know the world will think that they gain all of their confidence from their mother, but I really hope that when they are grown up and have children of their own that they know that they got lots of confidence from their dad too.

– Annie P.