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School, New Beginnings and Openness - All You Have To Do Is Try

Updated on September 3, 2016
Christina St-Jean profile image

I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more daily than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies, & LGBT advocacy.

The First Day Of School May Bring First Fears

No one said change is easy. If it was, growth wouldn't be possible.

But the anxiety that comes with the first day of school is like no other. Even for students who have been in the same school for years, the first day of school can be a day that causes stomachs to knot, faces to sweat and hearts to pound like bass drums. Each new year is different, and there are challenges lurking around every corner.

Sounds pretty daunting, doesn't it? At the end of every summer, parents are busily getting their kids ready to head back to school, and as they're getting school supplies for their sons and daughters, they are doling out advice like scoops of ice cream - advice that may or may not be heard and heeded by their children.

Kids in 2016 have often said that life is not the same as it was for us when we were kids, and that couldn't be a truer statement. Kids today face issues that we couldn't have even dreamed, ranging from cyberbullying to issues of genderism and sexuality. Back in the 1980s, we couldn't have even dreamed of problems like this. Future employment is also a continued concern for the older members of the generation coming up; school continues to teach kids based on the factory-based systems of the 1800s, and that really doesn't work that well.

We've got kids that have learning challenges, anxieties, and questions like no other generation has before it. As a result, we've got a whole group of students across the world who are looking at the doors of the school that they are going to attend and wondering if they'll actually make it.

Simply telling a child that all will be okay and they just need to ride it out doesn't work anymore. It didn't work when our own parents told us to "suck it up." Sure, some of the fears we had about a new school year were very much imagined, like the monsters under our collective beds, but by the same token, the dragons in this world that we were once told were imaginary are now very much real, and may look a lot like the people we see walking down the street with us.

First Day Of School - Let's Do This

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So What Can We Do?

Kindness is key, folks, and while we all know that there are those who would sooner walk over hot coals than be kind to someone we know is always nasty, everyone has something going on in their lives that may cause them to behave in a way that is not great.

Sometimes, the "mean kid" has never once been shown kindness.

Being kind does not mean allowing yourself to be a doormat, of course, and it does not mean that there aren't people in the world who are naturally unkind. There are people who just aren't wired to understand basic human decency, however, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't just at least attempt to be nice.

Say hi.

Smile.

Introduce yourself.

Sometimes these basic tenets of human interaction are forgotten as we try to move through our nerves and have a successful first day. We often forget that there are others who are equally nervous, so it helps if you try to reach out.

Saying hi someone can be the first thing that someone new recognizes as the best thing they remember as the first good thing that happened to them on the first day of school. Not only that, taking that first step to say hi might be all you need to break your own nerves and embrace the adventure that's to come in school.

The same goes for real life, too. Sometimes, we forget on the first day of a new job that reaching out and being friendly might be all it takes for someone to get comfortable and realize that there are pretty decent people out there. No one needs to go and embrace someone and say, "I love you! Will you be my friend?"

All it takes is a smile. All it could take is saying hi and asking someone how they are doing. It doesn't matter if the person is a colleague, a fellow student, or even a teacher or administrator; everyone needs to feel like they matter at some point, and sometimes, just being a decent human being to each other could be all it takes to make things positive.

Isn't it worth it?

The Fear Is Real

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Is it Time for a Shift?

First Day of School - The End Of Summer...

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