This month our grandson Noah will begin kindergarten.

To me he seems wise beyond his years. He believes in God and prays often, albeit sometimes in a slightly selfish 5 year-old way (as do many adults that I know). He deeply cares about others, especially his big sister and his mommy and daddy. Noah’s interests are varied. He loves the outdoors. He plays baseball and soccer. He likes to swim. He likes to climb, jump and run. He also loves playing with Legos and Play-Doh, watching movies, playing board games. He has a very active imagination. He likes books but more than that, he loves hearing stories, especially if I tell him stories about when I was a boy (sometimes they’re even true). Noah loves music and loves to dance. And he laughs – huge belly laughs. He is fun and funny. We call him “Life’s-a-Party-Noah” for good reason. He is physically demonstrative and will gladly throw his arms around this old man and give me a huge kiss on the cheek. It doesn’t matter who may be watching. He loves me. And of course I love him!

Noah Kindergarten

Noah modeling his new school uniform

And so he begins a new chapter in his young life – Formal Education. From this day forward everything will be on his PERMANENT RECORD. I know that Noah will approach school with he same tenacity and aplomb that he tackles everything else. He’s a good team player and is easily coached so I suspect that the order and discipline required in school won’t be too challenging for him. Plus he loves to learn new things. And he’s kind. So he will be good to his classmates and teachers. And there can never be too much kindness in our world. Noah will surely do well with school.

But here’s the thing: Will school do well with Noah? Will his enthusiasm and joyful spirit be enhanced or stifled? Will his teachers expose him to new experiences and new ideas that fill his heart and stretch his mind or will he become bored and restless because of conformity and rote learning? Of most concern to this grandfather is whether or not his spirit will be allowed to soar. Noah has so much to offer and I’m convinced that he will change our world. He’s already changed mine.

I want the universe to open up for him in ways he can’t yet imagine. I want his achievements to be as boundless as his dreams. I want him to travel the world; read and study and explore; make a difference; discover his best self; love and be loved beyond measure. And I hope that someday he is blessed with a boy of his own who will fill his life with light and love.

I suppose that this is a lot to place on the small shoulders of a kindergartener. But hey, it’s Noah!

And I can always tell him a story about when I was in kindergarten…



P.S. Noah, Always stay humble and kind…

Kindergarten and Beyond…

Granddaughter Anna started Kindergarten this week. It’s one of life’s big milestones, like  first steps or first words. But Kindergarten is more than just a milestone, it’s about education. It’s the door to knowledge and adventure and socialization and community. Certainly Anna’s education began the day she was born. The difference is the fact that Kindergarten is formal education provided by professional teachers. And everything from this day forward will be on her “permanent record”.

Ready to learn!

Ready to learn!

That seems like a tall order for a little person. But I’m confident that she will succeed and thrive. Anna is bright, loving, inquisitive and kind. Her school is filled with loving, caring educators who put the children in their care above all other concerns. And she has parents who will support her and the school in their shared goal of educating Anna.

Still I’m feeling a bit ambivalent about all this BIG GIRL stuff. Maybe I’m being too sappy and overly sentimental. I suppose all parents (and sappy grandparents, too) are entitled to a few tears on the first day. But that should quickly give way to the excitement of new adventures in learning for our children and grandchildren.

Anna has already learned so much in her five short years. Her knowledge will grow exponentially now that she is in school. And soon I will be struggling to keep up with her. I just hope that she can teach this old dog a few new tricks along the way…