By Joe Buck Coates
Almost like the first ants to emerge from the dry ground after a lengthy late summer shower, school-age children and their parents are busy getting stuff together and themselves together in anticipation of the first day of school. Summer–as it seems to more so with each passing year–has speedily passed. By this time next week, all local elementary, middle and secondary schools will have begun a new year. In addition, area college students will be venturing to their campuses, marching like ants up and down the highways that criss-cross our state.
School time is often one of reflection. This year we have two in college–one for the first time, who will be moving in to his abode at Mississippi State this weekend. His and our anticipation of this day has been building steadily since graduation, but ever so hastily as that time draws nearer. Watching him and Mom make preparations for Move In Day–and the foreboding anticipation that has come along with it–is starkly similar to the times when my siblings and I went through the same process. And, the senses of hope and nervousness felt by both student and parent that go with it are just as joyfully unsettling as it was back then. He’s taking a big leap, and one that will tell what he is made of.
School time is also one of refocusing–for everyone. Not only should parents and children, teachers and administrators, bus drivers and lunchroom personnel be preparing for the new school year, but also the rest of the world, too. We need to be wary of bus zones, students who walk, drive or ride bikes to school and the parents who deliver their children to and from school each day. Excited children aren’t always totally aware of traffic situations, so we must make an extra effort to avoid potential tragedies by slowing down, driving more cautiously and yielding to avoid accidents.
The school year is upon us. Let’s all make sure that, while we are enjoying the return to a routine, the anticipation of a great year and the giddyness of Day One, that the children and all others associated with our educational entities come home safely each day. And, we need to pray for them each day–near or far.
Let’s have a great school year!