Make New Friends, but Keep the Old

Our world has expanded exponentially over the last few weeks with my oldest son in a large public school and the numerous opportunities to get involved and meet new people. How comforting and relaxing it was over the Labor Day weekend to have old friends come and visit for a few days. These dear friends hearken back to 1990 BC – before children, that is- when our schedules were more flexible and we had more energy. They moved away too many years ago, but come back regularly to visit, bringing with them the memories of days gone by. This time, they also brought newly digitized recordings of some “radio dramas” they had created in the Rocky and Bullwinkle style, recorded in our younger and crazier years. Our children found them to be a great delight, particularly since their dad was one of the characters, and we all had to chuckle as we went upstairs to bed and heard three CD players blaring various takes from the show affectionately known as ” Pajama Man.” There is something comforting in watching your children take a passionate interest in the things you have loved as well. It was also wonderful to see how these dramas created such a connecting point for my kids with these friends whom they only know through occasional visits. A ten hour trip is too long and a three day visit is too short, but some friendships are for a lifetime -and they are worth the effort.

Don’t Take my Map!

Preparing for his first day at the new school, my son’s only fear was that someone would steal his map of the school. Now, we have to get this in perspective. He commented at orientation that the entire building of his old school would easily fit into the auditorium of the new high school – and he was right! 275,000 square feet of building means a lot of hallways to get lost in! We carefully planned out his routes on the map and he walked them out ahead of time, once with the map and once without it, memorizing the shortest paths. But, by the third day, he confidently told me he knew his way to all of his classes and didn’t need the map anymore. Until next semester.

Don’t we tend to be the same way about life? “Oh, I’ve been down that path before; I don’t need the road map any longer,” we think. We get confident in our familiar ways until a new opportunity presents itself. All of a sudden, panic strikes and we’re scrambling. Where is the map? Which way do I go? How do I choose? I want a printed map, with the path clearly highlighted in yellow. I want to know where I will be on the map today, tomorrow, and six months from now. I can’t lose my map or I’ll be lost forever, or so it feels. Sometimes, God shows us a clear path to follow and life is easy for a while. But sometimes He tells us that HE is the map. “Don’t take my map!” we cry. But God says ” Trust me. I AM the map, the only map you will ever need.” Do you think He’ll help my son find his English class next semester?

Navigating High School

My oldest son started high school this year -a major transition for our family in many ways. Yes, I was one of those people who swore that my child would never darken the doors of a public school, but a beautiful new school with the promise of wonderful opportunities and a great principal beckoned us to soften our stance. We reasoned that he had had a solid grounding in both academics and our values through his early years homeschooling and more recently at his private school. I realized that interacting with only 10 classmates and walking between two classrooms across the hall were probably not going to provide him the depth of social skills and problem-solving experiences he needed to successfully navigate college away from home in a few short years. And, the private school he was attending decided last spring not to offer high school this fall, as originally planned. So, with some excitement and a great deal of trepidation, we dropped him off for his first day of school. I felt very helpless as I watched him walking in to that HUGE school with 1200 people that he didn’t know. I breathed a prayer of ” Lord, you have to look out for him now, because I can’t.” I had held a false sense of security and control as long as he was at home or in the small school, where talking with the teachers and headmaster was an almost daily occurrence. Now, I knew I had to let go.