As a kid, were you happy or anxious about going back to school? Now that you’re older, how has your attitude toward the end of the summer evolved?
As a kid, I relished going back to school. School was my safe haven and even at a young age, I think I intuitively knew that it would lead me out of the situation in my life. I grew up in an abusive, neglectful dysfunctional home where I was molested and tortured until I was 15. So school was a refuge. In school, teachers liked me and I desperately sought their approval in everything I did. What I was starved for at home: love, attention, guidance and nurturing, my teachers provided me. Not in abundance per se, but enough to keep my starving soul alive.
It’s quite remarkable really. I have a ton of admiration for teachers. Their job is hard. They have to shape the minds of children who, for the most part, would rather be playing. For me, a steady parade of teachers over the years literally saved my life. And they didn’t even know it.
I loved the work. I loved the experience of stretching my mind to new limits, absorbing new information. It felt a lot like being fed, like sustenance for my soul. And there’s so much in the world that’s fascinating, that I find myself insatiable, even now.
And ultimately, education has been the driving force to lead me out of a life of poverty and ignorance. Rather than continuing the legacy of my family, I broke the pattern and am teaching my children how to avoid that pattern. It’s not easy but learning has been a key to my self-sufficiency, independence, financial well being and a brighter future. Of course, you have to want to be educated for that to work and it’s not easy, but through the years I’ve continually bettered myself.
For me, it started many years ago with a retired teacher who tutored me in reading and math after school. I developed a love of language (although not much love for math) and reading that saw me through countless tumultuous times. Look at times throughout history at how a lack of education has affected countries and civilizations and it’s easy to see that education is a cornerstone for success.
So naturally, I create excitement for my children throughout the summer. My kids are the only ones I know who were excited for and enjoyed summer school. All summer I talked about how I was looking forward to them returning to school and compared it to being at home to the point they love being at school. I hope to continue to encourage them into a lifelong love of learning. So if anything, my appreciation for schooling has increased. It’s never a reminder of the end of summer, but an exciting time of learning. Now, as we get closer to the holidays and the end of the year, that will be a different story. Not to mention, I have to file for divorce soon, a prospect I’m strangely dreading.