John Cowan - School Bag Packed

Publish Date
Thursday, 11 February 2016, 1:34PM
By John Cowan

I guess you checked what went into your kids’ school bags, for the first couple of days of the new term anyway, anyway: their lunch, stationery, bus money, books and so on.  As well as packing their school bags, pack some things into their hearts as well, things that’ll really help them at school.

One thing is the memory of your farewell hug and smile.  Lots of school mornings, the last image my kids would have had of their dad is a one of frustrated rage. “Where’s your bag!” “You can’t wear that!” “Why didn’t you do this last night!?” “What do you mean you’ve got a tummy ache!?” “I can’t BELIEVE you’ve already lost it!” “Come on! The bus won’t wait and I won’t run you to school!”  Everything is said with a snarl and an exclamation mark. I know, getting kids out of the door on time can be the hardest thing in the world but, as best you can, send them off to school with a smile and a friendly farewell.   They are going off into a day of busyness and, sometimes, strife, stress and trouble. Admittedly, it’s usually kid-sized problems they’ll face but, even so, they can get rattled.  They can cope so much better if they know, back home, they have someone who loves them and is on-side with them, and it is far easier to believe that when their most recent memory of you isn’t one of you snarling and blowing smoke out your nostrils.

Another good thing to pack into their heart as they head off is a can-do attitude, lending them some of your confidence that they will cope with whatever is going to come down the chute today. ‘Pep-talks’ can sound a bit cheesy if you over do them, but your words are necessary to counteract the negative words that we all say to ourselves: “I’m dumb, I can’t do this, this will be too hard”. Your positive words are a powerful antidote to this negative self talk, so just say a few words expressing your confidence in them, in their brains, their ability to solve problems and your belief that they will do well in whatever the day may throw at them.

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