The day began like any other summer day. One daughter was up and dressed by 8 am; the other was snug as a bug in her bed trying to grab all the precious hours of sleep before school begins. That’s right, school begins on Monday. I knew when we were looking to move to Arizona that some districts were on a modified year-round school calendar. Well, it turns out, we moved to one of those districts.
So as the rest of the country is vacationing, church camping, pool partying, and night owl-ing; we are school clothes shopping, supply finding, and class registering. I try not to get discouraged when I look at the calendar and realize the summer solstice actually began four weeks ago, and now a month into the season school is starting. It’s just kind of weird, but I’m sure there are reasons beyond me as to why this is the way it is.
Like I said, the morning started out normal, and then one of my precious people checked the student portal. A scream arose from her bedroom. “Maddie, Mom, come here! The class schedules have been posted!”
Let me back up. I know my reading audience is at various ages and stages of life, so let me explain the portal system. I can only imagine the imagery that comes to mind when I say that. And not only is there a student portal, there’s also a parent portal. No, this is not some space age, alternate universe, black hole type of device; it’s a one-stop, online, communication hub for parents, students, teachers and school administrators to effectively communicate throughout the school year.
It’s actually pretty ingenious, and it cuts down on so much paper and refrigerator door space. I have to say it has made my life easier. At the tip of my fingers, any time of the day, I can access grades, attendance, hot lunch balances, permission slips, sports schedules, and so much more.
I will admit, there’s part of me that misses the olden days. I remember the excitement and nerves that came when the school schedule showed up in the mailbox in front of our house sometime in late August. “To the parents of:” I certainly didn’t take a picture of it, and there was no social media tool to post it. I maybe called a few friends from the phone that hung in our kitchen, or I just waited for the first day of school to see who showed up in my classes.
Now I hear minute-by-minute updates as friends text, Snap Chat and Instagram my daughters about their class schedule. Izzy found out that she is the only student at her middle school that has C lunch. The only one! Poor girl. Maddie doesn’t know what lunch she has. I tried to look on “the portal” to help her figure it out, but it looks like my BA degree didn’t equip me for this. It was a ten-step process, having something to do with her fourth hour class, and teacher’s last name. For the love.
As much as I’ve been reminded this week of simpler times when I was growing up in a world that seemed safer and more predictable, I also realize this is my children’s norm. This is their reality. I can make judgments all day long about the influence of social media on our youth, online portals, and school beginning a month into summer, but what does that really accomplish?
I came across a quote I had jotted down a while back. Forgive me for not knowing who said it, as I would like to give proper credit to the source.
It is what it is, but it will be what I make it.
These past few weeks have been difficult ones, not only for our nation, but the world. I don’t know what exactly I’m expecting, or even looking for, when I turn on the news or scan social media sites, but I know I don’t like what I see. I like order to my life. I like to makes sense of what’s going on around me. I like to know what tomorrow holds. I like control.
The reality is, though, I don’t really have much control. Not over the news. Not over other’s posts on social media. Not over parent portals and school schedules.
But I do have this.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7.
In other words: It is what it is, but it will be what I make it.