I don’t often blog here about parenting things, but this seemed an appropriate milestone. Tomorrow, my eldest goes to school. Over the weekend we visited my parents, and looked through the old family photos of my own first day at school. In these photos, my parents – now around retirement age – are my age, and I’m tiny. It’s hard to believe that when the call goes around for “an old shirt to use as a paint smock”, that the giant garment he uses will be one of my regular work shirts!
I have no clear memory of my first day at school – there is a vague sense of entering a particular classroom, and getting started on some activity or other, but apart from regular games of “dead soldiers” after lunch – where all the kids had to lie perfectly still until spotted as moving by the teacher, or deputised students who had been caught moving – and getting a question about the relative weights of a couple of objects wrong, kindergarten is a bit of a blur.
So I’m not sure how much my son is going to remember of the day itself. I’m hoping he has an overall memory of the continued effort at sustaining a relationship I’ve invested. I’m taking the day off tomorrow to make sure I’m around to drop him off, pick him up, and be around for the family during the day should anyone need me.
In the lead up to becoming a Dad, and for most of the time of being a parent, I’ve been studying theology, hoping to understand how best to impart some wisdom to my son. Sometimes it works – it’s nice to know Greek and fumble my way through some Hebrew, and to have a better understanding of the Christian worldview. Mostly, it’s a balancing act – avoiding simple moralising, not going deeper than he’s ready for in terms of assumed knowledge.
The main problem is saying anything about it at all. far easier to engage him on his own chosen topics of TV shows an video games. Of things he sees around him and wants to comment on.
We caught up with friends, even today, and there were plenty of opportunities to talk about Christian things – how many times did I just drift back to amusing anecdotes about the kids, when I could have taken some more “risks” and asked some questions whose answers will last long after everything else has faded away?
But I pick myself up, dust myself off, and keep going. It was good to pray with my eldest the night before he’s about to embark on his biggest adventure yet.
Big changes ahead for the whole family; as ever, it’s impossible to tell what the future will hold, but we presume that God will continue to be faithful to us.
Bring on the next step.