Early September is a time of wonderful new beginnings. As students head back to school, the feel of crisp new uniforms and not-yet broken in tennis shoes, the unseen creations locked in perfectly-pointed crayons, and the clean white pages of brightly-colored notebooks all point to the promise of a fresh beginning.
Back-to-school is also a time for renewing old friendships, and discovering new ones. This week the Genesis Classical Academy community celebrated friendships, both old and new, with a back-to-school orientation and picnic.
While the parents were attending an orientation meeting, several other brave grandparents and I were charged with entertaining the children. (We also had the assistance of several staff members, who went “above and beyond” the call of duty).
One of the games we played was called “Getting to Know You.” The children were asked to divide into groups, based on their individual answers to a series of questions.
In my “first life”, I was a high school science teacher. I understand (or at least, I used to understand) 15 year-olds. But I have always been mystified by the workings of the pre-adolescent mind. I quickly learned that what seemed to me to be a fairly straightforward question, took on an entirely new world of possibilities when filtered through the mind of a five-year-old.
The first question was “How many children are in your family? If you are an only child, stand by Mrs. Yates. If there are two children in your family, stand by Mrs. Wendt. If there are three, stand by Mrs. Clays, and if you have four or more children in your family, stand by Mrs. Johnson.” I was careful to explain, in case some of the children came from blended families, that step-siblings “counted”. That triggered a plethora of questions:
“Do I count myself?”
“Can I count all of my cousins?”
“We don’t have any children in our family – just babies!”
One little boy took the opportunity to tell me about his baby sister, including her name, whose arrival was anticipated sometime in the next 9 months. I must admit, I was a bit distracted by the other 74 children running around – so I didn’t pay close attention to the details. I didn’t notice any visibly pregnant young mothers at the picnic – so mama, if you don’t yet know you are having a little girl, and I have spoiled the surprise – I apologize.
“What color are your eyes – blue, brown, green, or hazel?” Immediately I had a dozen sets of wide eyes in front of me, waiting for an accurate diagnosis of eye color!
“Which animal do you dislike the most?” We first had to define “dislike”, because this apparently was a new term for many of the children. “Let’s try again. Which animal do you hate the most – bats, mice, snakes, or spiders?”
“But Grandma, I hate them all!”
“Which one do you hate the most?”
“I hate them ALL!”
“OK, never mind. It doesn’t matter – just pick one.” (I think she settled on snakes.)
Parents – thank you for entrusting your most precious gift – these beautiful children – to Genesis Classical Academy. We promise to love them, nurture them, and encourage their growth. We look forward to “getting to know you” – and your children – in the coming year.
Judy Ness, Guest Writer