Way back in the good old days when our children were in school, kindergarten only lasted for half the day. None of them ever expressed any desire to stay longer than that.
When they started first grade most of them had no problem with the transition to a full-day schedule without naps. But, there’s one in every crowd. For us it was one of our middle boys.
He seemed happy enough to be all grown up and in first grade at North School. But at lunch time on the first day I got a call from his teacher, my old school friend, Mrs. Thomas.
“He doesn’t seem to understand he’s supposed to stay all day,” she reported. “I told him he needed to eat lunch here.”
“Well, okay,” he agreed, “but then I have to go home. My Mom will be looking for me.”
She assured me that she would keep an eye on him, but asked me to call and let them know if he managed to escape there and appear at home.
They managed to keep him for the whole day, but when he finally got home he had a major message for me. “Mom, you’re going to have to call those people at that school. They want me to stay there all day. I told them I was supposed to be home to help you, but they just made me stay there.”
I asked him if he liked school. He said it was okay, but he knew he couldn’t stay there every day because I’d miss him too much. I finally managed to convince him that even though I’d miss him terribly, it was time for him to be in school all day.
In contrast to him there is our youngest granddaughter, Laura. When she was 2 she was really annoyed that she couldn’t go to school.
Last year, when she was 3, she was thrilled when her parents signed her up for Sunday school at our church. Well she was thrilled until Monday morning when she discovered that it wasn’t an everyday thing and she wouldn’t go back until the next Sunday.
Two weeks after Sunday school started she went with her family to visit her cousin at Ball State University over in Muncie, Indiana. She decided that was really cool.
A few weeks after that I took her up to Edison College in Piqua with me when she came to “help” me one day. As she alighted from the car she regarded me very seriously and casually informed me, “I’ve been thinking about doing some college” She was ready to sign up.
So 30 years ago we had a male first-grader who balked at doing whole days at school. And now we have a 4-year-old female who considered two days of Sunday school and a two-hour visit to a college campus sufficient preparation for college.
I don’t know if the difference between them is a generation gap or a male/female thing.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate Sept. 16, 1998.