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The end of every school year is a mad rush to a
maddening finish. There are parties and performances. Pool passes, camp
sign-ups and plans for summer childcare. Teacher gifts and report cards. Meetings
for activities, meetings for school programs and meetings for meetings about
There is so much to do. And for many parents, we have
very little energy to do any of it. Frankly, sometimes it feels as if I'm being
held together by paste and popsicle sticks.
Besides energy (and the will to open our kids'
homework folder one more stinking time), many of us are also lacking
perspective. I include myself here. It's as if I have end-of-the-year tunnel
vision: all I can see is the super-busy schedule and "important" decisions right
in front of me. Recently, I even had a mini-meltdown (all right, a major
meltdown) over how to coordinate a night of Little League games, a fourth-grade math meeting, class play preparations, a field trip to the zoo and then
It was chaotic, but it was not life-or-death. Yet in the
midst of my meltdown, I couldn't quite see how much perspective I was lacking.
My first-grader's teacher corrected my
perspective when she added this message to her end-of-the-year letter to her
students and their parents:
engaged in many academic tasks but also in the unseen works of the heart, those
that help us to become the best persons we can be, learning how to treat others
well, to be willing to help, to give generously and to receive graciously, to
appreciate beauty. These are the ongoing works of life, the most important
skills we will ever acquire."
I cried when I read this part of her
letter. I took a deep breath and hugged my kids and did all the things a person
does when someone reminds them of what truly matters in life.
Because meetings, schedules and big
decisions? The chaos and noise of the end of the school year? They matter, but
often only on a superficial level.