Drop Off

“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” Matthew 19:14 (NIV)


I have been wanting to write this post for about five months now. It’s not anything profound or deep, but yet it touches me every day I drop our youngest off at school. Our children attend different school districts and as a result, our youngest needs to be taken and picked up from school each day. I’ve personally loved it because it gives me time away from the computer, a mental break from working, but also creates a chance to connect before sending him off for six plus hours and then a chance to reconnect before entering the chaos of after school/dinner hour/homework/bedtime hours.

However, not only do I enjoy the one-on-one time drop off and pick up gives me with our child, I truly enjoy watching the different dynamics of other parents as they perform the same routine our family does, each and every school day.

Each parent/child relationship is as different as each family and yet we all have similarities. Affection is shown verbally and physically to each child as they leave their parent and head into the school. Whether a fist bump, a hug and kiss, an arm around the shoulders, or a routine unique to a specific family, the parents’ love for their children and the love of the child back toward their parent is evident.

Verbally it’s the same. Each family has their own way they express their love for each other before separating for six plus hours. For some families it’s more the tone of voice than the actual words spoken and still others it’s something completely unique and special to that child and parent dynamic.

Another thing I noticed was it doesn’t matter the age of the child (this particular school has kindergarten through fourth grade) and the parents’ voices and gestures are as gentle and loving toward their older children as they are for their younger ones. While the style used to express that love may vary depending upon age and comfort level, it’s still present and I love seeing it.

I’ve been actively observing drop off for months now and it’s easy to see which kids are gearing up to face a battle that particular day (maybe they don’t feel well, maybe someone is sick at home and they are worried about them, maybe they have a test or project or maybe they just stayed up late and are especially tired) and which kids are looking forward to something special happening (maybe it’s their birthday and they get to bring treats, maybe they have a new outfit they’re wearing and they feel especially confident or maybe they got a new puppy and can’t wait to tell their friends). No matter what is going on in the child’s life, they are sent off to school with verbal and physical affirmation that they are special, loved, and valued.

Like I said, this post wasn’t about any profound truth except maybe to remind us all that how we choose to say goodbye and also how we choose to say hello to those we love can make a difference in how positively or negatively they face the world and even see the world and those around them.

While this mainly pertains to interactions with your loved ones, I think it can be an example across the board. While I’m not going to go up to a stranger and offer a hug or invite them to learn our elaborate family handshake, a smile and a friendly greeting might go a long way in turning a negative day around.

I think we can all learn a lot from the routines established at drop off. I know I sure have this year.

© Cheri Swalwell 2019


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