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Everything I Know About Life I Learned in the Kindergarten Drop-Off Line

With all those great “First Day of School Photos” floating around Facebook and Instagram, and all those new moms learning the drop-off morning routine, we felt like it was time to dust off this fabloulous post from the archives. Definitely worth sharing this sweet post twice!  

At my son’s school, it is required that Kindergartners are escorted to and from their classroom (as opposed to them just jumping out of the car and walking to class by themselves). This is fine by me, as I tend to be a worrier and would like to see him safely transported to the door myself. I cherish that walk as he still gladly holds my hand and has no interest in bolting from my side the minute we reach school grounds.

It is a short walk from the parking lot to his classroom door but we have the benefit of passing by every other Kindergarten classroom on the way in. Oh, the wisdom we overhear, and what I have learned in well wishes from other parents! As in most of life’s lessons, they come in the strangest of places.

For me, my classroom of learning is the drop-off line at the beginning of the day.

“Be a great friend today, you may not know who needs one!” 

I loved this when I heard the Mom encourage her daughter one morning. It was instructive for her child but also others focused.  Such a good life lesson we all need. How many times have I found myself sulking that no one has initiated to me?  A lot.  Maybe I need to be a friend to someone today, they just might need it more than I do.

“Make today the best day it can be!”

Simple, sweet and to the point. We do have the power to determine the course of our day regardless of circumstances. We can’t control what will come at us, but we can have a controlled response to how we will react. Wise words for a 5 or 35 year old.

“Don’t be afraid to try something new today in _________.”

This parent had a specific instruction for their child but the wisdom carries true in whatever scenario. I know that along with control I crave what I know and can expect. I like understanding what is expected of me and how I will perform in any given task. I don’t really like trying new things. So whether it’s the monkey bars for a wobbly 5 year old or acquiring a new task at work, we shouldn’t be afraid to at least try something new.

“Be the kid that others want to follow.”

Wise words and yet so hard to implement. Kindergartners are known to be like sheep; prone to wander and follow the most dominant in the pack. As a parent, I want to teach my children to lead by example but not necessarily dominance. I am learning that my particular Kindergartner is more shy and reserved but he can still be a leader even if it means silently making the right choices while others go astray. These are elementary lessons now; no talking out of turn, potty talk is for the bathroom, and no hitting seem to be the common themes with us. But what about when high school comes? We can’t all have the most popular kid in school as our child, but we can seek to have children that respect themselves and therefore command the respect of others because they stand firm in their good choices.

And finally, “I love you so much.”

We can’t underestimate the power of these words. We should all be so lucky to start our day with a hug and reassurance that we are loved unconditionally and accepted by someone. Our children need to hear this all throughout the day, but in the morning especially. When they step into a classroom of learning and optimism but also uncertainty and insecurity, I want my son to have something sure to fall back on, at least in his heart.  That is, his Mama’s (and Dada’s) great and unchanging love.

Whether you find yourself in Kindergarten or the corporate world, exhausted from sleepless nights or energized because you have a morning to yourself, let’s remember that life’s lessons aren’t always profound; after all, you might just find one in the drop off line. 
What about you?  What is the nugget of wisdom you leave with your child when you drop them off at school (daycare, a babysitter, etc.)

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13 Responses to Everything I Know About Life I Learned in the Kindergarten Drop-Off Line

  1. Sandy Fowler September 28, 2012 at 7:32 am #

    I loved this post Tracy. Aside from the wonderful wisdom you shared I liked hearing how you treasure this little ritual with your son. My girls are teenagers now and my husband and I still drive them to school and pick them up for many of the same reasons. No, we can’t walk them to their classrooms or even their lockers, nor would they hold our hands if we could:) But…we spend a few quiet minutes with them before they start their day. We have a chance to check in and to send them off with an I love you, some encouragement, or a little wisdom without the craziness of the morning rush that happens at home. And after school we hear about their day in that strange little time warp that happens between school and home. We can see their faces and hear their voices in those first few minutes, before they transition and to home and the after school chaos of homework and activities. It’s just a little ritual but it adds so much.

    • Tracy September 28, 2012 at 8:57 am #

      Thanks for reading, Sandy! I love what you said about the time warp between school and home, so true! It’s like they truly are decompressing from the world of school to the safety of home!

  2. Melissa September 28, 2012 at 8:26 am #

    What a GREAT post. I am going to use these ideas next week at drop off! Thanks!

    • Tracy September 28, 2012 at 8:57 am #

      Thanks Melissa, I appreciate the comment!

  3. Sarah September 28, 2012 at 9:03 am #

    Love this, my friend! When we were little my mom always sent us off with “Be your best!”. It was a conscious departure from “Do your best,” which is more achievement/behavior focused, and to her it meant that she hoped we’d be the best version of ourselves that day. She still says it, and now I say it to my kids. *Sniff!*

    Thanks for a great post! xo

    • Tracy September 28, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

      Ooh, this is great. I love the intentionality of your Mom’s word’s! I also love the thought of your Mom telling you now to be your best. Even as Mom’s ourselves, we still need encouragement, especially from our own Mama’s!

  4. Noelle September 28, 2012 at 9:29 am #

    These are wonderful! Your son goes to school with some kids who have WISE parents!

    xo

    • Tracy September 28, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

      Thanks Noelle! I know what you mean, a couple of times I have wanted to stop them and ask for more nuggets they might have to pass along!

  5. Cate September 28, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

    Always love learning new words of affirmation for
    My kids. So often I get in encouragement ruts. Thanks!

    • Tracy September 28, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

      Thanks Cate!

  6. Sara September 28, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

    I always enjoy the articles you write! Keep ’em comin’! I grew up with “Do your best, and be good”, but what I like more, I learned from a wise man…”Be your best, do good (like do a good deed), and have fun!”

    • Tracy September 28, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

      Thanks Sara! Having fun is super important in a day and age of over stressed kiddos!

  7. Adriana aguilera August 18, 2014 at 11:22 am #

    My daughter started kinder this year…. This article made me feel a little more normal. I try to tell her something positive everyday. “I’m thinking of you today”, “Be nice to others”, “make a new friend today”, “ask your teacher what you can help with”
    Thanks for the article. It made me feel so warm inside.

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