Nerves are running a little high this evening. I just gave another round of kisses to children who should be sleeping by now but are very wakeful. Bangs have been trimmed, outfits have been laid out, logistical plans for the day have been gone over. Many prayers have been said.
They are scared and nervous. I would be too. Actually, I am too, on their behalf. They are understandably anxious about beginning school not only in an unfamiliar school with new kids and a new town, but in a new language. Not entirely new, granted, but it’s never before been their main language of education. There’s a lot of missing vocabulary – how exactly do you say #2 pencil in French? Apollo is particularly concerned because, as he rightly points out, he’s never really even been in a real school just homeschooled.
I’ve tried to encourage them: Courage is just Fear that has said its prayers. Sometimes I wonder at my own year abroad that began all this business. I somehow worked up the guts to do a year of university in another language, especially amazing since my French at the time really wasn’t very good. (Which is why I had to find a private tutor, HA!)
Seriously though, I recall that panicky feeling the week before classes began, when all of us study abroad students fretted and fumed and tried to find classes together. I remember a lot of not sleeping at the beginning of that year and feelings of deep seated dread. But it was, in the end, one of the most wonderful and formative years of my life. It changed it and formed it for the better, at some point French phrases started coming out of my mouth, and I am still hangin’ with that ol’ Swiss boyfriend. Obviously, my kids’ own lives were shaped by that year as well.
So, I tell them, the things with the most fear attached are usually the things with the biggest payoff. Feel the fear, say your prayers, take a deep breath and jump in that pool. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, of power and of self control. Amen?
Now then, what should I wear tomorrow?