Remember the New Kid

New kid, new school

Back to school season is my favorite. I love the excitement of a new school year. Freshly sharpened pencils. The anticipation of new opportunities and new things to learn. Themed classrooms decorated by enthusiastic teachers. It’s the best!

As the parent of three military kiddos, every few years, my excitement for the new school year is shadowed by them starting in a new place. Walking into an unfamiliar building, surrounded by a sea of strange faces. And of course, being the dreaded “new kid.”

Here’s what I want to ask of you as a parent this year-remember the new kid. 

When your kiddo excitedly talks about meeting up with their friends from last year, remind them that there may be a kid or two who has no friends to look forward to seeing because they are brand new to their school.

Remind them to use their eyes to see those who are unseen. Remind them to use their words to speak to those who are ignored. Remind them to make their circle bigger because there is room for everyone.

When your kiddo comes home from school and shares about their first few days, ask about the new kid. 

When your kiddo tells you about the cool game they played at recess, ask if anyone didn’t play. 

It’s not your kiddo’s job to rescue the vulnerable or the different or the new kid. But what if we raised a generation to see and welcome those who feel like they don’t belong? And what if we modeled this as parents? 

If we invited the new mom for coffee. 

If we invited the new family over for dinner.

If we noticed the moving van outside the house across the street, went over and simply introduced ourselves with a smile. 

Our kiddos see these efforts. And when they see our values in action, they are more likely to remember the new kid.