Childhood, and the Keystone journey, go by far too quickly

Jan 21 2022

Childhood, and the Keystone journey, go by far too quickly

“In time, there are an infinity of worlds”.
–Alan Lightman

Inside a kindergarten classroom

Over the next few weeks, Keystone will host the annual Little School Playdate and Kindergarten Roundup events. As part of the admissions process, these visits help the school and parents determine if Keystone and a prospective student are a good match.

Choosing a preschool or a kindergarten can seem like a big step. Although the children may be very young, this decision can feel for us parents like we are launching a rocket. Our children will learn not only facts and figures, but also discover how to “do school.” In addition, they will interact with peers and figure out how to engage productively with other children their own age.

Beginning preschool and kindergarten can be both exhilarating and terrifying; as parents, we hand over our most prized asset to other adults, and we trust and pray that all will go well. We know our children’s educational journeys will include successes and setbacks. Recognition for an outstanding essay can be offset by a poor performance on a test. The hero in today’s game will choke in tomorrow’s contest. Best friends one day may be vehement enemies the next. The roller coaster ride of parenting demands an even keel approach; the highs and the lows in our children’s lives may never be as extreme as they seem at the moment, so we need to take deep breaths and have a long view. Perspective tempered by age is key to retaining our own sanity.

A couple of weeks ago, our most recent alumni explained what life is like after high school; this semester, we are watching senior’s Keystone journey come to an end. On a personal level, seeing some children about to begin school and others approaching the end of their experiences at Keystone has a special resonance. Just a week ago, my wife and I put our youngest son on a plane for his final semester of college. It seems like we just enrolled him in preschool. In just a few months, he will graduate from college and start the next chapter in his life. While grad school may be down the road, right now he wants to get out there and work in the “real world” like his older brother who graduated from college in 2019.

Like other parents, we weathered the ups and downs of our children’s school years. Some assignments excited and inspired them; when they completed that piece of work, they beamed with pride. Other times, problems in math and science or essays for history or English confounded them, and they appeared frustrated and confused. Their best friend last week seemed well-nigh perfect; a few days later they never wanted to see that person again. Their favorite teacher this week was their arch nemesis last week. We truly understood the old saw that as parents “we are only as happy as our least happy child.” We tried to prevent the chaos of their adolescent lives from affecting our world, but that was not always easy to do.

We also attempted to bear in mind that like other periods in a human life, the time when our children were home with us would be gone before we knew it. The aphorism “the days are long but the years are short” can feel all too true as our children make their way through preschool then elementary, middle, high school, and college.

In 2037, next year’s youngest Keystone Cobras will graduate from high school and head to college. That may appear to be an eternity from now. Trust me, it will fly by and arrive faster than we can imagine. As a father who wishes he had done it more – cherish each moment.

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