I’m as excited as he is for back-to-school

Why don’t I remember ever being excited to get back to classes when I was a kid?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Well, for some parents it is, anyway.

We can see the end of the tunnel. Our kids are about to head back to school and get out of our hair for a while.

Okay, that sounds terrible.

We love our kids. We really do. But when they’re in school, life is a whole lot easier, I gotta say.

We don’t have to figure out days full of activities that will keep them entertained and their minds stimulated, because their teachers do that for us. (Thank you so much for that, by the way. You do excellent work and I very much appreciate it.)

But most importantly, and the reason for this column, is that, at least for me and my kid, being in school is what he wants, apparently.

Maybe I’m not being that good at keeping him entertained throughout the summer, because he’s super excited to be going back to school next week.

In his words, he’s “looking forward to making new friends and seeing my old friends again.”

I love that.

I love that he looks at the start of the school year as an opportunity to grow and not as a chore he has to accomplish whether he likes it or not. He doesn’t see it as a job he has to do, but something he gets to do.

Which got me thinking.

Why do I not remember ever being excited to go back to school after the summer?

I remember feeling totally dispirited every year around the end of August knowing that I was about to lose the freedom of summer.

Maybe that’s the difference, actually.

It used to be that summer was a time of freedom.

It used to be kids leaving the house first thing in the morning and going exploring the world with their friends – at least for me it was.

I would end up at one friend or another’s house for lunch (or they’d end up at mine) and we’d go on adventures, play sports in the neighbourhood park, or go fishing in the creek, not catching anything and not caring if we did. Then head back home for dinner – or maybe I’d be at a friend’s place for that, too – and head back out for a few more hours of the same thing.

Some days my parents wouldn’t see me from first thing in the morning until the street lights went on at night – my cue to be home.

And this was well before everyone had a communication device in their pocket.

Nowadays, even summer is structured for kids. They have this week of this monitored camp/workshop thing and these are the things we will do together on this day and these are the days you’ll be at so-and-so’s house.

Maybe that’s why he’s excited to be going back to school. At school, he gets more freedom to explore. Maybe not physically, like I used to when I was growing up, gallivanting all over town – and further, even – but emotionally and intellectually, he maybe has more freedom within the boundaries of the school’s property than he does at home. At least the exploration he’s doing is being done with other kids, which probably makes it more fulfilling.

Anyway, whatever the reason, I’m glad my kid is excited.

Because I’m excited, too.