With a required post-Labor Day opening for public schools in Virginia, the "big yellows" will roll on Tuesday morning.
Kindergarten parents will fill backpacks, take pictures, and probably cry a little…parents of seniors will recall how quickly thirteen years have passed and project, with emotion, the next school year which will likely begin with a trip to college, a departure for the military, or leaving the house for a job.
But save those tears…many return…and they bring other people with them who seem to instinctively know the location of your refrigerator.
We have six little granddaughters and a seventh on the way. Their school experiences provide a different perspective for us. When our three young people were in school, we thought constantly about what they were learning and how it would impact their lives.
While I still believe strongly in standards, tests, report cards and consequences, it seems critical to think of the school experience in other ways.
So in addition to asking, "what did you do today?" when we actually mean, "What did you learn?" … What else do we want to know? "Did you talk with anyone today?" "What did you talk about?" "Were you kind to them?" "Did you show them respect?" "Did you treat them the way that you like to be treated?"
As a superintendent I would frequently say, "I don't know what tomorrow's issues are going to be, but I do what tomorrow's relationships will be; therefore, I can deal with tomorrow's issues."
Maybe we should add two more "R's" to our report cards: respect and relationships.