School in Texas starts in two weeks. Two. Weeks. My little ones will pack their new backpacks and their lunch boxes that don’t stink yet and head out on August 22. I’ve started worrying already. It’s one hundred degrees in the shade right now at 7:30 in the evening! What if the air conditioners break and my babies sweat? What if none of their friends are in their classes? My kids are worried about teachers, clothes, orchestra, and tests. I worry that they worry too much. We’re all staying up too late and sleeping too late and I worry that the first day’s alarm clock buzz will fail to wake us from our summer stupor. Maybe we need to have a few dry runs between now and then.
I guess what worries me most is that we come from a long line of worriers. I’d hoped my kids would run energetically into new school years, laughing and carefree. Bold in the face of the unknown. Instead, they, like me years ago, stew and ruminate and have stomachaches. So unfair.
Before school starts, we talk a lot at our house about drawing on the strength God gives us. As small as we feel walking through those doors and down those halls, looking for friends and lockers and desks, we are great in Him. We say this verse a lot:
You will increase my greatness and comfort me again.” Psalm 71:21 ESV
And we talk about giftedness. We describe personality types and point out the ways each one is strong and gifted. Those extroverts—they bring the joy to the room. They make us all feel welcome. The introverts—they understand us. They know us. They quietly support us. It takes all kinds in this world and I hope my kids get that.
I’m choosing to look at the positive side to our personality. I’m a writer because I ruminate. I understand people and characters because I hang back and observe. No, I was never the life of the party; in fact, I don’t remember ever going to the party. What party? But I could imagine the party and create the subtext of the party. I could write the dialogue of the guys that were invited.
And I’m happy to tell you what my kids did this summer—Anderson, my eight-year-old, wrote 62 interrelated comic books. He created thirty characters who mingle and mix and get into trouble within the pages of his expertly illustrated books. Cool. And Amelia, my twelve-year-old, started her first novel about a science experiment in the 1940s that went horribly wrong and messed up the lives and memories of several people. Also cool.
My wish for all my readers out there is that you’re free to run into this school year with courage. That you look for value in the kids around the edges. That you celebrate the beauty in every personality. And that your walk is comfortable and good.