The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

August 16, 2013

LEVINE: The educational journey begins

By Scott Levine
Herald Associate Editor

---- — The nerves rattling through my body are a bit different than I remember six years ago.

hat was the last time I participated in the first-day-of-school ritual, ending more than a decade of routine that began when I was in preschool.

Now, starting at today’s open house, my daughter is starting that same path that I began more than 20 years ago.

My oldest child is entering preschool, a known statement that is sure to make my wife and me feel a lot older starting today.

I knew this day would come. We’ve been training for it since she was born. The countless renditions of the ABCs, the broad brushings of my daughter’s favorite pink Crayola and the constant chatter back and forth were a precursor to the real deal — school.

Now that I have children, I’ve become a sap. I still attempt to keep a hard exterior, but ever since my daughter’s birth more than three years ago, little things that I normally would scoff at, tug at my heart strings.

And I believed that today would be one of those “things.”

But it’s not.

I might be more excited than my daughter. Although I don’t miss the pressure of a last-second cram session or a procrastinated paper, I can’t wait to see how my daughter responds to school.

I enjoyed school...to a point. Like most kids, there were days that I would rather be at home. But for the most part, it was something that I looked forward to each year, wondering what the teacher would be like, whether I would be punished for the behavior of my two older brothers and who I would sit by during class.

Some of my best friends are still people I met in preschool and kindergarten. Some of the friends that I had during school have faded, but there are still some people that I still consider good enough friends that I actually call or meet in person, rather than stay behind Facebook’s profile.

And that’s a major part of school that gets lost within the constant headlines of failing academics. School is more than dotting “i’s” and solving Algebraic equations.

There’s a social aspect of school that helps kids develop into more than just a walking Encyclopedia. I don’t know if a + b = c, but I can carry on a normal conversation with someone, thanks to being exposed to several different personalities during my educational journey.

And so now’s the time that my daughter takes a giant leap toward growing up. She’s not the same girl that took her first steps a week before her first birthday.

She’s beginning a journey that will take up the majority of her life until she’s in her 20s. She’s been ready for this since children at her daycare were leaving on the bus.

I just have to make sure her parents are prepared.

Safety first

With school starting, make sure you’re careful on the roadways. The Clinton Police Department and Clinton School District is reminding parents to discuss with children about not talking to strangers, cross streets using crosswalks and to obey all traffic laws.

Scott Levine is the Associate Editor of the Clinton Herald. He can be reached at scottlevine@clintonherald.com.