OUR VIEW: Best wishes for a new school year

It is difficult sometimes to fathom how summer appears to end so quickly, when the marker is the appearance of big yellow buses carting youngsters to their classes, and all that this entails.

Next week local schools resume classes, and with that responsibilities are thrust on so many people of so many ages in so many different places on the social strata.

It is ironic that as we march toward autumn – the time when most things in our world wane and whither in preparation for winter cold – that young minds are just then opening up to the knowledge and acceptance of skills that their teachers shall thrust upon them. It is spring, after all, that is seen mostly as the time of renewal, and the fall for the harvest rather than the growth.

But make no mistake about it there is growth in those classrooms. There are lessons being taught. There are minds just now opening up and preparing to grow. Those who may have needed more work in given subjects have had the summer break to catch up, if judicious. Yes, this most valuable crop we have – more precious than wheat or cane, corn or cotton – this crop of young minds is planted in fall and harvests in spring, those special springs marked by graduation. They harvest especially when mature enough for the real picking, they move on to their places in society, whether in a bank or at a college, on the assembly line or the oil field. They soak up not only the reading and arithmetic, but the social mores, one might hope also the morals, the lessons taught by history good and bad, and they bring all of these with them as they raise families of their own. The homes are the most important, of course, for the learning and the teaching. But it is in the schools, these systems we have built, that all of society gets to lend its hand to the parents, because it indeed does take a village.

And so this time of year is one of a special magic. The smell of new books and old ones, the sight of friends perhaps not seen for the summer, the excitement of gauging a new teacher and how he or she might help or hinder. All of it is part of this magic, it is part of our ritual. It is part of how we as a society move year to year.

The buses that convey these young people from home to school and home again, these lumbering yellow behemoths prone to stop wherever they wish, knowing full well that drivers of cars must stop behind and before them, they are an inconvenience to many. So much so that some might not take to waiting well, might try to sprint past, might try in this way to part the curtain of safety we try to draw around these dear children.

Take the moment. Allow the few seconds or the minute it takes to regard these children and how precious they are as they troop into or light from the stopped bus, how they are the light of others’ lives, how they have so much room to grow, how they are worthy each and every one of the extra time we must take. Give up instead of a sigh, silent prayer for their safety and success if you will. Do allow the time behind or before the bus to be a welcome break.

But whatever you do, don’t ignore the bus or the flashing lights. Too much is at stake.

As for you parents, bravo and brava on surviving another summer and on getting the little ones prepared, and congratulations in advance for all you will do for them this school year. To the teachers and administrators and everyone else connected with this special time of year, this planting in the fall, we wish the very best of everything.