School’s Back (pt. 2)

August 31, 2011 | 11 comments
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Next Tuesday, the Brunson household starts a brand-new adventure. At 9:00 am, my oldest daughter starts kindergarten. Though I’m not sure I’m ready to have such a grown-up daughter, she didn’t ask my permission to get this old. And she’s excited. And she’s completely and totally ready for it.

Growing up, my dad gave me and each of my siblings a father’s blessing the night before school started. I’m pretty sure he kept doing it through my first year of law school. (I got married between my first and second years, and at that point, didn’t go back to San Diego over the summer.) That blessing, as much as the actual first day of class, became a mark of my academic year, signaling and sacralizing the new year.

It’s a tradition that has stuck with me, and one I’d like to start in a week. But I’m also curious: what did you do growing up, and/or what do you do now, to mark your or your children’s entry into a new school year?

(Bonus question:[fn] what do you send your kids for lunch? I just found out that my daughter’s school is not a peanut-free school, which gives me some help, but I don’t plan on sending PBJ every day. She’s a pretty adventurous eater, though I’ll probably stick to sushi at a sushi place, rather than letting it sit several hours, but I’ve never had to pack a school lunch before.)

[fn] By “bonus question,” I mean bonus for me, of course.

11 Responses to School’s Back (pt. 2)

  1. Julie M. Smith on August 31, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    I make my kids fend for themselves because I am mean, but here are some amazing lunches:

    http://www.laptoplunches.com/photo-gallery.php

  2. Coffinberry on August 31, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Father’s blessings are a part of our back-to-school routine, too. My youngest started 8th grade this year.

    She tracks the school lunch schedule and packs her own lunches when she doesn’t like what’s on the school menu. Her lunch box usually has some variation of grain-dairy, as in bagel with cream cheese, granola & yogurt, cheese & crackers, with an occasional PB&J. The easy-to-pack veggies and apples are by the wayside right now due to braces and other assorted in-mouth orthodontic appliances (too hard to bite), so she often packs a V-8 juice. For afterschool (she’s on the volleyball team) she packs a granola bar and waterbottle.

  3. BethSmash on August 31, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Yay for back to school. I really think it’s one of my favorite times of the year. Anywho, I have to say that I grew up in a single parent family. My dad died about a month after I was born,and my mom never remarried. I didn’t even know that many dads did father’s blessings before the school year until I was in high school. I think it’s great that you are continuing that tradition in your family. One day, if I marry and have kids – I’m going to include it in mine.

    What we did was back to school clothes shopping (just a couple of new outfits unless we’d grown completely out of our old stuff – or in my case the hand me downs!) and school supplies shopping. My mom took us all individually, and kind of made it a big deal. Even though, now that I think about it, she probably did it that way so that the four of us didn’t get all whiny and exhausted while finding stuff for the other person. Even now, at the end of August I get the urge to buy paper and note cards and folders and pens and such.

    As for lunches. My mom used to send me with a sandwich, pb&j, turkey, ham, bologna or cheese with carrots and celery and either an apple or an orange or grapes. Sometimes we had chips from the variety packaged things, and sometimes a treat, usually a ding dong. Or a hostess pie of some sort. OR those delicious cream filled snacks that are shaped like hearts. yum yum YUM. And the drinks were usually capri suns. BUT for the most part we went with the hot food option, it ended up being cheaper. at least for elementary school. When I was older and made my own lunches. I’d always raid the leftovers first for things that could be eaten cold and still taste okay. Like lemon or roasted chicken and salad and veggies. I think that those pictures from the first comment looked AMAZING. And I noticed a lot of leftover raiding.

    I would suggest having your little girl help you make the lunches. That way she’ll get some say in what goes in there AND you can help make it something that eventually becomes her job and responsibility. PLUS, extra opportunity for teaching her the right things to eat.

  4. Bob on August 31, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    No hand-me-downs for me! I only had older sisters.
    I think once I had bologna on white bread 287 straight days .”Be sure to bring the bag home”.

  5. David Elliott on August 31, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Somewhat off-topic, but I have to share: We recently returned from visiting my son and his family in Italy. He’s in the air force, stationed at an air base about an hour north of Venice. There’s no base housing for families, so he and his family live in a small village nearby, and his three sons (ages 6, 8, and 10) attend an Italian school. School lunch is mandatory, and the emphasis is on learning healthy eating and maintaining food traditions. Every meal has three courses: fresh vegetable or antipasti, pasta, and fresh seasonal fruit. All ingredients are fresh and organic and are prepared in a kitchen on-site. These lunches have largely cured my grandkids of poor eating habits they picked up in the States. In fact, the 8-year-old is virtually a lacto-vegetarian and will choose a green salad or a burger every time.

  6. Brian Woodward on August 31, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    I’m a married, single father of five children. This year was much different than other years. In our previous life, on the Sunday before school started I would interview each child individually and then the family would gather in the living room as I gave each child a blessing, including the youngest who wouldn’t be attending school. That part wasn’t planned, but when I finished up with the school boys, little sister climbed up on the chair and wanted her turn. Then baby sister had to have a turn as well.

    This year baby sister is in the hospital 2 hours away, fighting cancer with mom by her side. We had to do blessings a week early to accommodate my traveling back and forth, but the children didn’t seem to mind.

    As for school lunches, our important fight (with cancer) has reduced my ability to fight the children on what they get for lunch. Today it was PBJ, cookies, goldfish crackers, and whatever else they could cram in their sacks before the bus came (which was an hour and a half late, by the way). If I could trust the kids to keep their insulated lunch sacks closed and put their ice packs in them, I would be more adventurous with the sandwiches they get. For now, it’s peanut butter.

  7. Sam Brunson on August 31, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    David,
    We spent some time in Italy this summer and, as often as not, my kindergartener got a salad for dinner. She likes veggies, but she adores balsamic, and would drench her salad in balsamic. The balsamic alone was enough reason to eat salad.

    Brian,
    I am so sorry—best wishes and luck to you and your family, and especially to baby sister.

  8. jks on August 31, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    My kids pack their own lunch once they are in 1st grade and go all day. I magnanimously offer once a week to make them a lunch. Some stuff around here:
    protein: cheesesticks, yogurt, bagel & cream cheese, crackers and cheese (one adds salami), crackers with laughing cow spread, ham sandwich, salami sandwich, egg salad sandwich, cereal & milk, pb&j
    frui/vegt: bananas, grapes, strawberries, apples, or prepackaged mandarin oranges, apple sauce, pears, carrots
    in a thermos: scrambled eggs, raman, spaghetti os, hotdog, leftovers like teriyaki chicken
    treat: prepackaged dessert treats, half muffins in plastic wrap from the freezer, chips

  9. Anonymous on August 31, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Back to school! Receiving father’s blessings is a great tradition! As for school lunches: sandwiches, fruits, vegetables, crackers, chips.

  10. Jax on August 31, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    Father’s blessings happen every year for school, new years, and birthdays. Trying to force the habit this year of doing homework BEFORE playtime instead of after….we’ll see if it takes.

    Lunch is whatever school is providing.

  11. Chadwick on September 1, 2011 at 1:54 am

    Hi:

    I second jks’ list. Incidentally, it looks like what I take to lunch with me every day. My daughter starts kindergarten next year, but in UT, where we will be when she starts, I don’t think they need a school lunch.

    My parents also did the night-before school blessing. We all got to participate in all the blessings. Being at the tail end of my family, it sure felt anti-climatic when it was just me and my sister left. I can’t even imagine what it was like after I left for my sister. I don’t recall getting blessings for college, but I think one time I did ask for a blessing on finals week.

    I too hope to continue this tradition, but I better start working on my daughter now. My son (age 1) and I were quite sick about two months ago so the priesthood came and gave us both blessings and my daughter (age 4) didn’t want us to get blessings. We need an FHE lesson on that I guess.