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Another school year down. Where did all that time go? How come the years seem to speed up the older we get? My years are going over the speed limit, and I deserve to get a ticket from the age police. I just completed my 50th year since I first started teaching. I remember standing in front of that class at the ripe old age of 20, excited, a bit scared and looking at faces of students that in general were eager to learn. A strange thing happened. At the end of the day I gathered my thoughts and wondered what I would teach tomorrow. I seemed to have exhausted most of what I knew on the first day!

I recall my son coming home from his first day of school saying, “That’s school! What’s next?” Seems as if he was ‘a chip off the same block’! I look back with nostalgia at all the children I’ve had in my classes or in my school whom I have had the privilege educating, whether it was knowledge, character, or life skills I was imparting.

You know, it’s the same with parenting. The years fly by at great speed. Before you know it your baby is at school. Then they are battling their hormones at Middle School and trying to establish who they are and what their life might look like. In a jiffy they’re graduating high school and waving you goodbye as they leave home and go to college. You look back and say, “Whoa! Where did all those years go?” You can’t believe the last kid’s gone and now you’re an ‘empty nester’.

Yes, it’s exactly like that. So, I’m reaching out to you to say, “Make the most of this summer and be prepared to create a lot of positive memories for your children. It’s the memories, not things, which bring the greatest pleasure to children. Memories don’t have to cost a lot. They just take a bit of forethought and then implementation. My children, now entering their mid- forties, often raise these memories in our presence and wish they could relive them. Avoid putting off the opportunities and then say once they have ‘flown the coop’, “If only…!!!”

Erickson, one of a number of well-known educators and author of many books, wrote about what he called the 8 stages of man, from baby to elderly person. He said that at the end of life a person usually looks back with integrity or regret. I decided decades ago that I was going to look back on life and say, “I made a difference.” That’s the integrity part. I was not going to sit their whining and wishing that my life had gone a different direction than I wanted or should have made it. That’s regret!

Thanks for the positive feedback I have received concerning these blogs. I feel that it’s a privilege to share my thoughts, wisdom and experience with you. Happy summer to you all.

Written by Brian Burgess, School Counselor, PPE Nashville TN (These are my opinions and not those of PPE)