School days, school days, dear old golden rule days…wow, does that tune ever bring back memories! As parents around the country prepare to send their children off to school for another year, many baby boomers are experiencing the season from another perspective. Some of us have an empty nest for the first time, while for others it’s been years since we pushed a loaded cart through the school supply aisle of our local Wal-Mart.
I don’t envy one bit the challenges today’s parents have in getting kids ready for another school year. It seems things weren’t as complicated for parents when boomers were kids. Notebook paper, #2 lead pencils and oilcloth for our desktops were standard fare—unlike the very long supply lists kids have today, bless their hearts.
A new school year can be daunting for some and thoroughly exciting for others. It’s a time of change—of growth—of moving up and moving on. From pre-school to “real school,” from one grade to another, from one school to another, and for many who have moved during the summer, from one town to another. This school year I’m experiencing the latter—moving from one town to another—in fact, from one state to another as we leave our home in southern Minnesota for the warm Texas terrain.
My husband is a fifth generation Bottke in our Minnesota farm town. He will leave behind memories that stretch back generations. I’ve only been here a short 12 years, yet I already feel the pang of loss for our 25-acre farmstead. We’ll be leasing a home in a Dallas suburb, albeit temporarily, until we decide where to buy our next home. It’s a time of trepidation…and I can’t help but recall the feelings I used to experience in September as a school girl—starting a new year in unfamiliar surroundings, wondering what the new semester would bring.
For boomer babes around the country—around the world, in fact, we are facing “new semesters” every year as our environment changes, our body changes, and our outlook on what’s really important changes as well. As kids in school, every new experience is as vital as can be—every challenge is catastrophic—and every molehill is typically a mountain. As boomer babes, we’ve come to learn that choosing our battles wisely is far better than fighting an uphill battle for every little thing. Age has mellowed many of us—to a calmer place where the seasons of change are experienced not with fear and trembling, but with anticipation that God is opening a new door, presenting a new opportunity, and allowing us to grow in grace—if we choose to do so.
I’m waxing poetic this season, and I’m obviously no poet, but in thinking and praying about my boomer babe column this month, I found myself less melancholy and far more joyful than one would expect for someone who is facing such a drastic change in the next few weeks.
It’s said that moving is one of the top five major stress factors in the life of a person, no matter their age. But I’d like to think for this boomer babe, that experiencing it now is a gift God has given to me—and to my husband.
Throughout the Bible are countless stories of people being moved from location to location—often at the great expense of life and love. Yet through all those historic moves God remained faithful in His promises and in His love for his children.
As kids all over the country return to school this month, I will pray for them and for their parents. I will also take time to pray for my fellow boomer babes and boomer dudes whose lives are entering a different season of learning. May whatever new journey you face be experienced from a place of joy and thanksgiving—no matter how challenging it may be.
“Choose this day whom you will serve.” We serve an awesome God whose plans for us far exceed anything we could possibly imagine. May your fall season be filled with the scent of adventure as this new semester in your life begins.
©2007, Allison Bottke