The Compass Blog

Back to School

Ker'en Walters

The first day of school is always a milestone for kids and their parents.  This year, that first day was especially memorable for both of my kids.  Not only was it my daughter’s first day of kindergarten, but it was also my second-grader’s first day at a new school.

I was full of nerves and anxiety for them during our morning commute. I was expecting to pull up the driveway and slowly get the kids out of the car and walk them up to the front door while offering words of encouragement and support as they embark on this big new adventure. I was prepared for hugs and kisses and possibly a tear or two (most likely from me).  What we got, however, was a little different.

Fanfare.  Serious fanfare.  There were teachers holding signs reading “We Missed You!’ and “Welcome Back” as we drove past the staff parking lot. Near the front door was an even larger gathering of teachers, older students and staff — all wearing happy faces and exuding enthusiasm and joy in all directions. To be honest, I didn’t know how to react. It took me a few minutes to compose myself.

We parked the car and I watched my 5-year-old make her way to the entrance. Meanwhile, my 7-year-old seemed apprehensive, so I encouraged him to go ahead and follow his sister up the walkway. What happened next was my favorite part of the entire experience.  These two young brave souls took one step after another, without hesitation, towards their academic future. All the while they were greeting all these new faces, being cheered on and sharing high-fives with the crowd.  This wasn’t a first day of school; it was a red-carpet Hollywood premiere. It was amazing and brilliant! I drove away with tears in my eyes, excited for them and this new opportunity they are so fortunate to have.

On the drive home, my mind drifted to thinking how awesome it would be if all of life was like that. If cheering squads with pom-poms and kazoos were there supporting us at all of our big scary beginnings, maybe beginnings would be a little bit easier for all of us. Perhaps, if we knew there were a team of people on the sidelines bursting with enthusiasm and excitement for us, holding up signs with positive affirmations and offering high-fives – those first steps would be less scary and actually…inviting.

I hope all of you who are hesitant to embark on that new journey or who are standing at the threshold of the next chapter in life find your internal welcome wagon and soak up all the courage it can give you to take that first step.


Don’t be afraid to start over.


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