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ProblemsNCHS Superintendent’s Notes – August 31, 2016

By Ernie Fowler – Nashville CHSD #99

Here we are on the last day of August.

By this time our students have 13 days under their belt. Our freshmen no longer have the terrified look on their face that they had on August 15.

I believe that we often underestimate the level of stress that goes along with going to a new school. This is especially true of young people who are going to “the big school”…or high school.

It has been forty years since I moved from middle to high school but, as I stood in the hallway on that first day of school this year, I remembered when that was me who frantically tried to get from class to class while battling the ever-stubborn locker door. Remembering back to those days gave me an extra portion of patience in answering the many questions that our freshmen had.

There are times that, as an adult, I want to downplay the perceived “problems” of our children.

Adults have major league concerns. We think about paying the mortgage, how much life insurance do we carry, should we fix the car or trade it off and can we afford the new car payment, have we bought enough clothes for everyone in the family except us, and other issues that come with the freedom and the independence of adulthood.

I have to pause from time to time and look at my seven year old. His concerns are things such as who do I sit with at lunch, what do I play today at recess, will I get invited to the next birthday party, and the ever-present….”what do I do if I have to go to the bathroom at school”!

As adults, we say we would gladly trade those “problems” for ours. We often forget that worries are usually tailor- made to our age.

Children should never have to worry about the same things we worry about as adults.

While I might snicker at my seven year old’s concerns, I have to remember that those are heavy weights for a little guy.

I have found that high school is a time when there is a distortion in the problem size-person size continuum.

How can the person standing in front of me be a kid when I have to look up to speak to him?

How can this enormous football player who could lift me up and tie me in a knot be a “kid”?

Despite their physical height, weight, and appearance they are, indeed, still kids on the inside.

While their stresses are more sophisticated than that of a seven year old and less sophisticated than a 30 year old, their concerns are just as real to them.

The challenge for us parents and educators is to be understanding of what weighs heavy on their mind, be supportive, but push them to be independent thinkers and problem-solvers.

Of course nobody’s worries are as important and “grown up” as mine.

Now, if you will excuse me, I’m at school and have to find a bathroom!


NCHS Superintendent’s Notes