I have been asked to contribute a weekly column to our local newspaper, The Nebraska City Newspress, my goal is that people are reminded that they are loved, they are not alone, and that we can do positive things together as a community. Here is this week’s column, it’s called “Back to School”
Last Monday, my wife and I had the joy of taking my daughter to her very first day of Pre-K at Northside Elementary. I was there with a bunch of parents, grandparents, little brothers and sisters, and even some friends. There were pictures taken, tears shed, hugs and kisses given, introductions made, and we all waved goodbye as our little ones walked into the building where they will learn for the until they are in 3rd grade. It was a big moment. My heart swelled with pride as I watched my little girl standing in line getting ready for the first steps in this journey of formal education. I even shed a tear when her little brother refused to leave until he could give his big sister one last hug and kiss.
I looked around at the crowd of adults that serve important roles in the lives of all the children in my daughter’s class I realized that it will be these folks that I grow as a parent with, these are the kids that my daughter will come to know, learn with, fight with, share with, and care for as long as they are in school together. I know some of our recent graduates who shared classes with the same people all the way through the public school system. The bond that the kids share and the parents share is layered, important, and lifelong.
I look forward to getting to know these kids, these parents, and these educators as we work together to help our children to grow, be challenged, and become the independent, competent, successful adults we hope they become.
What I noticed about the make up of the crowd surrounding our precious children was the number of dads in the crowd. It’s becoming more and more common to see dads taking on more and more duties as caregivers for their children. Recent studies have shown that moms and dads are sharing the important job of raising their children. Certainly, this isn’t a universal truth but it is a trend.
I know, as a dad, I take on a lot of the duties of raising my kids. I’m not just the disciplinarian when I come home. I read books, give baths, brush hair, make meals, and some days am the primary caregiver. My wife does all these things as well, sometimes we do them together, sometimes we pass them off. In our situation it’s about 50/50 doing the work of parenting our children. For me, this is a wonderful thing and I think a lot of the dads I know that do the same thing it’s a wonderful thing.
As we live into new realities and new roles for moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles, it’s important to remember that what works for me might not work for you and what worked for our parents might not work now, but what is important is that we work with one another recognizing that our goals are similar; we want our children to do well, we want our children to have joy, we want our children to be successful. How we achieve those goals may be different but if we work towards those goal together we have an opportunity as a community to create an environment where young people seek to better themselves, better the community, and better the world.
At dinner every night, my family goes around the table and shares their high points and low points of the day. We call it “Favorite” and “Not Favorite”. Here’s my “Favorites” and “Not Favorites” of the week.
Favorite: Watching my daughter begin a new chapter in her life. The start of King of the Hill Basketball
Not Favorite: Some of the “big city” things we aren’t used to seeing coming to Nebraska City, specifically stolen cars and bank robberies.