Aug. 21, 2015

Back to School...At Last!

“Art is intended to lift the mind...not the feet.”

Which is what the plaque at the base of this statue says. It also says these pieces of art have been created for all the citizens of the City of Wylie and we are to enjoy them safely and respectfully, which means don’t deface them or climb on them. These statues – there are two of them – are part of the environment at Pirate’s Cove Playground in Wylie, Texas and that is our granddaughter, Jessie, enjoying her statue safely and respectfully. Notice, her feet are on the ground.

School doesn’t start for Jessie and her sister, Emily, until next Monday, August 24th. If questioned, their mommy could tell us exactly how many hours, minutes and seconds are left till they head off to second grade and kindergarten. Facebook has been filled this week with pictures of small and large children heading off into the future. Pictures of these two will be up before 8 a.m. next Monday.

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Aristotle

“Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.” – Malcolm S. Forbes

“Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your

 self-confidence.” – Robert Frost

“It must be remembered that the purpose of education is not to fill the minds of students with facts...it is to teach them to think, if that is possible, and always to think for themselves.” –

Robert Hutchins

I think what we hope when we send our precious children off to school is that their teacher will love them, accept them as they are and see the hidden treasure buried inside each one of them. It would be nice if this teacher could awaken a love of reading in them that will carry them through their lives; teach them that spelling and grammar are necessary, not just a useless frill; help them to appreciate math and science; be kind to others, use nice words only and aspire to be on Jeopardy! one day.

As a child, I got sent to boarding school when my mother could afford it or sent to live with Nana and Auntie Helen when she couldn’t. Auntie Helen worked at I. Magnin’s in downtown Los Angeles and was gone all day. Hence, Nana was stuck with me. Out of desperation, she taught me to read and I started working my way through Compton’s Pictured Encyclopedia, 1922 version, which was pretty much all there was to read. I started with A and just read. These are beautiful books, filled with  pictures of far away places and a “Thought” at the beginning of each book. Here is part of the one that kicks off Volume 8:

“We come into a world that is open to receive us; for a few short years we live in the world as we find it; but soon, perhaps almost sooner than we know, we are making our own world, carving our own way, shaping our own thoughts, controlling our own destinies. What shall we take, and what shall we reject? The things we put into our pockets may be as nothing, though they may be made of gold; but the things we put into our minds are all the world to us, though they fall from the skies or rise from the valleys or pour out upon us from the hills, and cost us nothing. We are what we think. We are as old as we feel, as rich or as poor as our imaginations. We are as strong as our faith or as weak as our fears. It is these things that make up life for us; it is your mind that makes your world, and your mind is what you make it.” Arthur Mee

Yes, I still have them...all ten volumes!

I suspect that God hopes the same things for us as we hope for our children as we enter the world. He wants the best for us. He wants us to be our best. To live our best life. Jesus liked children. There are so many pictures depicting Jesus with little people. I suspect He knew all the best knock-knock jokes of the day, and He probably told each child he got close to that God loved him and had a plan for his life for good.

As our little ones, and our not so little ones head off to another year of school, another year of learning to cope with other kids, some of which may not be so nice, to learn to be responsible (no, your mother can’t do your math homework for you), to be respectful, to simply grow and learn how to learn, the best thing we can do for them is pray. Make their lunch and pray. Give them frosted flakes for breakfast and pray. Take them for ice cream and pray. Put them to bed, thankfully close the door...and pray. Please God, keep them safe. Please God, don’t let anyone hurt them. Please God, help me be more patient. Please, God...