education, family, kindness

Back-to-School Joy

It’s been a busy week.

Ok, let’s be honest. That statement above is probably the greatest understatement any educator has ever spoken about the first week of school. Busy? No. Busy doesn’t even begin to touch on the accelerated pace all families face when school begins. I’m sure many people would nod in agreement that back-to-school week is like no other.

Despite the frantic transition from summer to school mindset, I love this time of year. As an educator, it’s a time of unmarked potential – new students, new teachers, new opportunities to engage, enrich, and empower. There’s an unmistakable energy in the air that reminds us of our purpose and why we are called to this profession.

There is joy in returning back to school.

The first day of school marks a milestone moment for many. Scroll through your Facebook feed and you will see countless photos of students standing on their front porches, leaning beside mailboxes, holding signs and waiting for buses. There are smiles on children’s faces (well, most at least), as their parents pose and position them for the photo opp that will be shared on social media for all to see.

Back to school photos are tradition.

For the past thirteen years I have taken these photos, first with one child, then two, then three. They stand beside our mailbox, their growth marked by their height against the box.

They always have a backpack.

They always stand there awkwardly.

They always roll their eyes as I take too many photos trying to capture the best one.

This year I had one less photo to take.

As many of you know, my daughter began new adventures as a college student living away from home. Her first day of school started earlier than ours and it was the first time in thirteen years that I wasn’t a part of her day.

I didn’t help her organize her school supplies.

I didn’t help her pack her lunch.

I didn’t even get to capture that once-a-year moment of her standing beside the mailbox.

Then she sent me this:

There she is, my sweet college freshman, kneeling beside her mailbox on the very first day of school.

She remembered our tradition.

She remembered to take a photo.

She remembered me.

My heart was filled with joy!



First day of school of pictures.

These are the traditions that last a lifetime.

As I sent my boys to school to start their 8th and 3rd grade years, I couldn’t wait to greet our students, too. With smiles on our faces and joy in our hearts, we greeted each and every child as they got off the bus with backpacks and lunchboxes in hand.

Waiting with our Assistant Principal, Mr. Davis, for the buses to unload.

This is back-to-school joy!

What traditions do you enjoy the first week of school? What brings you joy this time of year? How can we keep the smiles coming each day for our students and children? Comment below and share your thoughts! I would love to know how you find joy in the journey, too


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