My youngest granddaughter is ready to start kindergarten. There’s been some discussion between her mother and my wife as to which school she should attend.
At issue is the possibility of a move. If it happens, they don’t want to pull her out of one school and put her in another. They’re even concerned about making her change schools between kindergarten and first grade.
“She’ll be traumatized if she has to leave her friends behind.”
“The adjustment to a new school might be too much for her.”
Yeah, right. My wife moved once during her formative school years. Our daughter attended one elementary school, one junior high and one high school.
For these reasons, my opinion on the matter is neither solicited nor wanted. Because the Old Man was in the military, I went to four elementary schools, two junior highs and three high schools.
Note: This doesn’t count the schools I temporarily attended because of suspensions or counselor-mandated changes to allow a teacher time to calm down.
So I don’t see the big deal in being uprooted. Change is good, right? It’s only been in the last couple of thousand years that humans have stayed in one place. For countless years before that, we were nomadic.
We followed the weather and herds. Tribes split then intermarried. Wars drove us hither and yon. Plagues thinned us out. Supposedly, God even got mad and killed most of us at one point.
It follows that flexibility is good for humans. And we don’t get that without a fair amount of uncertainty.
Kindergarten seems the perfect place to start. Lots of new faces, new authority figures and eventually even exotic new foods to try. I was eating paste and crayons by the first week in kindergarten.
While the primary decision-makers in her life were busy fretting over nothing, Ada and I had a special talk about the coming transition from “preschool” to “real school.” She said she was looking forward to it.
Her • “There will be lots of kids. I’ll have even more friends.”
Me • “Boys. Some will be boys. What will you do if one asks you to marry him?”
Her • “I just won’t.”
Me • “Wrong answer, hon. You tell me so I can hurt him.”
There was a long debate about the law and how it applied to social situations relating to kindergarten and grandfathers. Ada insisted that even “stares” severe enough to make a small boy hysterically incontinent were inappropriate.
In the end, Ada — who will probably pass the bar exam before she’s finished fifth grade — convinced me that she could take care of herself.
Even so, I was worried. So I conducted a brief entrance exam with her and discovered that she can already:
- Count to 200.
- Spell several dozen words.
- Color inside the lines.
- Ask permission to go to the bathroom.
- Refrain from biting other kids.
- Be quiet when the teacher asks.
- Stand in line.
I was astonished. For all the schools I went to, I didn’t master half those until my second high school. I would go back to kindergarten, but my granddaughter says I won’t pass.
Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.