I think some of us might need a reminder. Or a reality check. Or whatever you want to call it.
Due to a whole bunch of snow days and then an unanticipated macroburst that closed school for five days a couple weeks ago, our last day of school is June 29th.
That’s about two weeks later than school would have ended had we not had all the days off due to weather during the year.
Because our town was officially declared a disaster, they petitioned for a one-time exception to waive the five days we missed two weeks ago which would bring the total number of school days down from the required 180 days to 175 days keeping our last day of school the same as it was before the storm on June 22nd.
But the state denied the petition. So the last day of school remains June 29th.
And holy cow there are a whole bunch of people acting as if their kids are being sent to live out the remainder of their childhood in a sweathshop making three dollar t-shirts.
People are like OUR CHILDREN NEED A SUMMER! and IT’S GOING TO BE SO HOT! and THIS IS COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE!!! or not even unacceptable but DISGUSTING!!! and CAN’T WE AT LEAST MAKE THEM HALF DAYS???
And I’m over here like, um…. the first day of the 2018-2019 school year is August 29th.
They get two full months off of school.
Two months, while not the three months some of us remember having off from school when we were kids, is a decent chunk of time.
Eight-and-a-half weeks is a lot of weeks.
And I would wager a whole wheelbarrow full of money that 95% of the parents who are all up in arms about their kids needing a summer will be the same ones posting cross-eyed, eye-rolling emojis and wine bottle memes and asking when the first day of school is by July 10th because their kids are driving them insane.
Some of the uproar is because not all the schools have air conditioning in every room and apparently the kids are going to melt, and again, I’m like, I’m pretty sure none of my school had air conditioning when I was in elementary school, plus my teachers were basically blowing massive Marlboro Red smoke plumes in my face as I walked through the hallways in middle school.
And I survived just fine.
If Laura Ingalls Wilder could wear 50 layers of dresses, sit in a tiny little one-room school house and walk like twelve miles to and from school in the summer heat, then I think our kids can handle going to school on busses or driven in cars until June 29th in schools that have indoor plumbing and electricity and running water in Connecticut in the year 2018.
Is it a bummer?
Sure it is.
But life is full of bummers.
Because life is fucking hard.
And I’m all about letting kids be kids and I want to preserve my kids’ innocence for as long as possible, but there is a difference between giving your kids a childhood and sheltering them from any and all disappointment and turning them into complete wimps who cannot tolerate any kind of discomfort whatsoever.
Life is uncomfortable a lot of the time.
Life is physically uncomfortable and emotionally uncomfortable and hopefully at some point it’s intellectually uncomfortable, and if you are trying to make sure your kids are never uncomfortable you are doing them a serious disservice.
Like a really big one.
Our kids did just have five days off from school a few weeks ago.
I know it wasn’t for summer vacation and I know peoples’ houses were messed up and we lost power and cable and internet and our yards are disaster areas, but you know what (most of) my kids said when we were finally told that school was back on?
They said, “I’m excited to go see my friends!”
Even my kid who doesn’t love school said that.
Your kids will not be scarred for life because they went to school until June 29th this year.
You know how I know?
Because I made a joke that our last day of school was going to be June 147th when we were wondering how many more days we were going to miss due to the storm and a friend I graduated from high school with commented that the same thing happened to us our senior year of high school. Our last day of school was late due to an unusually high number of snow days.
And I had absolutely no recollection of that. At all.
I came out of it totally unscathed!
So I’m gonna enjoy those last two “extra” weeks of time to myself.
Maybe if there’s a really nice day in those last two weeks I’ll pull the kids out of school and play hooky and take them to the beach.
Or maybe I’ll just go to the beach myself while they are “suffering” at school.
Chances are most of you reading this did not endure a catastrophic storm in your hometown three weeks ago.
But these problems aren’t specific to where I live. They aren’t specific to weather related problems.
I saw this as a coach and when I was a teacher. I saw it from rich people and poor people. It’s rampant on sports teams.
Stop shielding your kids from hardships and disappointment and upset.
I have a whole bunch of kids. I get it. It’s no fun to see your children hurting.
But if you think it’s tough watching a six or eight or ten-year-old being upset, you really don’t want to see an eighteen-year-old who has never had any dress rehearsals in that department.
Let your kids be upset.
Let your kids be disappointed.
Let your kids be uncomfortable.
Let your kids feel sadness.
Don’t stop it at all costs.
Because I guarantee it’s gonna be there when they are adults.
And if they don’t have any practice experiencing a little bit of the bullshit life serves up when they are kids, well, then good luck to you in ten or fifteen years.
Cause you’re in for an extra bumpy ride.