Jay Rifenbary

Jay Rifenbary's Blog

First Day of School - Not Just for Kids


Having conducted presentations last week for both Schenectady City School District and Mohonasen Central Schools for their staff opening days, I reflected on the enthusiasm, trepidation and personal discovery that many educators were experiencing as the first day of a new school year was upon them. Interestingly, I also heard teachers and staff sharing their mutual experiences of preparing to send their own children off to kindergarten, or having dropped them off at college, for the first time. Having done both with two children of my own, I was empathetic to the emotion of parent/child separation being expressed, yet knew of the excitement that comes seeing your child begin a new life experience. Their departure also puts to the test, whether the values we as parents have attempted to instill in our children blossom in the challenges they are about to endeavor upon.

However, it is also a time to rediscover oneself when the responsibility of raising our children is modified, as a result of their now frequent absence. The constant attention paid to the most important connection we have with another human being, our child, is now diminished and a change in our perspective role as a parent evolves to another level of understanding. For many, our children validate our sense of self-worth and purpose and formulate a desire to work hard, achieve, and help create a life for them we believe will invigorate their potential to succeed. Celebrate your efforts as a mother or father. Your heart felt intuition, and commitment to the core values you believe in will provide you the gauge to measure your parenting success. Throughout my years of developing and inspiring the lives of others, I have discovered it is consistency in behavior reflecting the family values one believes in that sustains a foundation of self-worth and purpose. As your children grow, venture on their own, and leave you alone it is also a first day of school for you. It is a wonderful opportunity to pay attention to you and reflect on your own life and the direction it is taking. The freedom to have the time to ensure you are on a path that is reflective of what you want to be, and become, should be a treasured moment to create a better you.

An opportunity to rediscover you is at hand when the constant need to parent is partially replaced by the role of formal education. Of course our role as parents to evaluate formal education, participate in the process, adapt, and align it with positive family core values is essential to create a well-rounded educational experience for our children. The anxiety associated with having the children leave the nest is felt by all parents, but the anxiety felt once they are gone is more about oneself then those who left. All of a sudden there is no longer the distraction of children when it comes to dealing with you, and your own personal sense of self-worth and self-respect. Many of our own internal dysfunctions raise their ugly head. Do not shy away from them and do not allow them to discourage and depress your own sense of value. Embrace them as a challenge to be a better person, mother, father, professional and example to those around you. Take time to spend on you and begin a transition to reinvigorate yourself, your relationships and participate in the things you love to do.

Five steps to celebrate your first day of school are, * Recognize it is not only a first day of school for your child, but a day of renewal for you. * Establish new goals to enhance your future personal and professional development. * Get out, and participate in events and hobbies that inspire joy in your life and provide a sense of well-being. * Rekindle and refocus on relationships that have helped shape the beautiful person you are. * Celebrate the happy milestone the first day of school brings with it, by believing in your efforts as a parent, and your children’s efforts to become a person reflective of the values that represent the best in you and your family. With the tears of seeing them leave, enjoy the smiles seeing them succeed.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

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