12 years is a long time to sit at a desk. Although I know my son Ashi won't actually be sitting in one for that long, I felt a sense of trepidation as I watched him go off to school to begin first grade this morning.
As many of you know, one of my biggest challenges, and hence, one of the things I write about the most, is my relationship with my sons. I often struggle with letting my boys become who they want to be, instead of forcing them into the place where I want them to reside. This manifests itself in all sorts of ways; from sports to religion to religion (did I mention religion?). Of course, as I became obsessed with running, and even moderately successful, I had to fight the urge to try and get my sons to become runners. Of course, my oldest sons being teenagers, helped me, by reminding me that anytime I pushed too hard, they would respond with a pull the other way.
All of that made running my first race on Thursday night, with not one, but both of my oldest sons, so special. I didn't push them, threaten them or even try and bribe them, I just invited and they accepted. I can't deny that I was particularly pleased afterward to hear them talking about bringing down their times at their next race.
Which brings me back to Ashi, who today began the transition from play-time, nap-time and story time, to desks, homework and blackboards. I fear that he will have a hard time sitting still, as some male Sommers, perhaps even myself, experienced in the past. As a (former?) teacher, I know that not every student is cut out for classroom learning, and that much of what we make them do, has no real connection to what they will need to do later on in life.
Of course, there are all sorts of things that I hope he will learn and love. I hope his teachers and I remember that learning happens in a ll sorts of places from classes to parks. While sitting still and running fast.