Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Back to School

Nothing brings back memories like a familiar smell, and few smells are more memorable than a new box of crayons, fresh pencil shavings and creamy, white glue. Together these signal the greatest of all seasonal events: the start of the school year! Millions of North American children are busy preparing for the start of classes. Soon these same children will step down off of school busses, disembark from the family car and enter school classrooms (loaded with their own characteristic smells, by the way) where they will hang on every word their teachers have to say. Okay, that last part is a bit of an exaggeration. Nonetheless, every one of us has experienced that first day of school angst.

Guys, it's also back-to-school time for us. Now for some it is literally a time to go back to school as many look for a new degree, a new skill or a new knowledge to serve them well for an uncertain job market. For most of us, however, back to school is something we look back on and not forward to. But maybe this school year we can be more than the ATM that pays for school supplies. Perhaps this year we can figuratively go back to school and become involved in the lives of the school children around us.

For fathers of school-aged children, this is fairly easy to do. Make it a point this year to be at your child's parent-teacher conferences, recitals, field trips or sporting events. It would be a great thing for you and your child if you took a lunch break and ate with your child at school. Get involved with their homework. Share your knowledge and impress the kids with your grasp of life. Dads involved in the school make memories that will last for generations.

If you have no school-aged children, you can volunteer at your local school anyway. After a simple background check, you would be welcomed as a story reader for younger children, or you could be a homework consultant. One school district I knew of had dads come in after school and teach the children how to build birdhouses and other simple workshop projects.

Men, check out a local school and see if you can get involved. You will be glad you did.

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