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Back to School: Kindergarten Begins… and a New Leader will Rise


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It has been said that those who are typically anti-authority often make the best leaders. In general, a leader finds it hard to follow, and may wind up being deemed “anti-authority,” when in reality – they’re just meant to lead the charge. Or, so I like to think – me, a 37-ish year-old man who may have been tagged the “anti” on more than a few occasions, and years later has sometimes become the “authority” that he once may have been perceived to be against. One has to have tact while plotting a rise… but when does this type of ying-yang behavior begin? Perhaps it’s in kindergarten, and believe me when I tell you that kindergarteners have no tact.

As I put Addie on the bus this morning, the conclusion of the first two weeks of kindergarten, I thought back to February when we attended an orientation session at what would become her first “big girl” school. I shared some thoughts on that night here on the site, my closing being a fitting foreshadowing to our first days of elementary school. 

She chatted with the teachers, spoke with “new friends,” and like she has a habit of doing – walked around like she owns the place. “We call that a leader,” said one of the kindergarten teachers to me as Addie made a few definitive statements. “She sure is,” I said… keeping in-mind that she is my daughter, and those bold, very firm statements and actions can sometimes be just as troublesome as they are beneficial. Especially from those who tend to become “followers.” We’re definitely not raising followers in this house, and that could make for one exciting ride as the school years begin.

Though my mother recalls the story a bit differently, I recall getting booted from the school bus on my first day of kindergarten (pictured below) back in 1981. Our school district at the time (School District 163 in the dump of a town called Park Forest, Illinois) used full-size buses to pick up the kindergarteners, and the deal was that you weren’t allowed to sit beyond about the sixth row.

I went all the way to the back and wouldn’t move.



Long story short, I remember sitting in the principal’s office with a big kid that was probably only in fifth grade, yet carried the aura of Charlie Sheen sitting in the police station in FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF. As we sat there sharing a laugh, my smile was quickly removed when I saw my Mom walking briskly along the glass windows of the school office, sunglasses-on and probably about ready to break out the infamous wooden spoon.



With an established lineage, I wasn’t terribly surprised when I received a call from Addie’s teacher after her third day of school to inform me of an “incident” that occurred, albeit one that wasn’t nearly as memorable or dramatic as my bus issue from 33 years ago.

Toward the end of class, Addie wouldn’t quiet down for storytime. When told, “Addie, it’s time for you to be quiet now,” she pointed at the teacher and said firmly, “No, it’s time for YOU to be quiet now!” Disappointing, yes. Surprising, no.

Reality is, Addie and her little sister Finley are friendly, kind, caring kids most of the time. But, as anyone that’s spent a lot of time with the five and under crowd can tell you, the range of emotions from a group of munchkins over the course of the day is akin to The Mayor of Halloweentown in Tim Burton’s THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS. I fully imagine Addie’s expression to have gone something like this:

Mayor of Halloweentown
“No, it’s time for YOU to be quiet now!”

And back in a split second.

Kindergarteners have no tact. If you’re going to plot your rise, you have to play the game – and five-year-olds don’t understand that. You have to be “The Chancellor” before you can be “The Emperor.” The STAR WARS Saga taught us that.

Kindergarten has begun, and two weeks in, my little girl is really doing great, and Mommy and Daddy are very proud of her. She’s even brought home a “PALS” note once already, received for “giving a much-needed hug to a classmate.”

Our exciting ride has begun…



And now, the music of DEFTONES – “Back to School”


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