By now summer is winding down across the nation. The thrill of unstructured fun, travel, and sleepovers is losing its luster. Just when you think there is nothing left to look forward to - the school supplies have taken over your local everything store. This year I want you to consider the joy of Back To School shopping as part of your "summer fun" plans. Many of us misread this opportunity as a "to do" item, instead of its potential to set the tone for the school year. Whether your child is preparing for mothers day out or college- read on!
Consider the tale of two parents both shopping at the same time with their soon to be first grader:
Parent A decided to swing by the Back To School aisle after she had already spent one hour dragging her child through the produce and frozen food section. It is past time for lunch and everyone is feeling a little cranky.
"Go grab your supply list, lets see what we can get before we leave." she advises her growing independent first grader, who is proud to comply.
She then scans the list and makes negative commentary about the specifics of each item, how ridiculous it is that the educational system is so broken that she will have to provide red pens for the teacher to grade homework and buy paper that will be pooled for the whole first grade. Her child has wandered over to some awesome markers and asks if these are on the list. Parent A is lost in the list and complaining about the cost of the materials and dismisses the awesome markers because "you won't get to keep them anyway you will just have to share them with everyone." By now the frozen food is starting to melt and potential meltdowns are brewing in the Back To School aisle.
Parent B has set aside a special day to get school supplies. She readies herself to go to several stores to complete the list, so she will not get frustrated when there are no more red pens at location number one. They start early at the local mega store after talking about how exciting it is for school to be starting again.
"Go grab your supply list and see what teacher recommends for you to bring to the first day this year." She advises her growing independent first grader, who is proud to comply.
They step aside to review the list together, using the opportunity to highlight how next year her child will probably be reading the list to her! Parent B then breaks the task down into aisles and encourages her child to stick to the list when needed, and be unique in selections where appropriate (Spider man folders are so cool). Parent B demonstrates crossing things off the list and circling what items are left for the next store. Then they go to lunch. At lunch they talk about special memories from last school year and build enthusiasm for the coming year. After lunch they complete their list and Parent B also suggests some supplies (including awesome markers) to have at home for homework.
Parent A and Parent B spent the same amount of money, and approximately the same amount of time. The story they told to their soon to be first grader was radically different. Let's face it, there is a Parent A and Parent B in each of us. Keep in mind that buying school supplies is symbolic. It is telling the story of how you value education for your precious person. This is not about cost, it is all about attitude and intention. This year aim for bringing your best self to Back To School shopping. It really is the most wonderful time of the year!