Patricia Lynn Belkowitz, M.Msc., C.Ht., EFT



Time to learn! Time to hit the books! Time to send the children back to school to get an education! Depending on circumstances, this time of year can bring about different emotions. Emotions which can range from impending dread to joyful enthusiasm. After considering the plight of the stay-at-home mom entertaining her children for an entire summer, Edgar Howe quipped, If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers.”  Perspectives change when child becomes mother/father. Perspectives always change as we grow.

As children, we all had a school experience. Most of us received a public education; some enjoyed private school or a home school experience. School helps to form who we become. It’s an important part of our societal programming. It’s a necessary and mandatory part of life. We cannot escape school.

Some of us endured the trauma of the first day of school every year. We were forced to leave behind the carefree days of summer and sentenced to a daily dose of confinement and control. It meant adapting to the stress of a new routine, new responsibilities, a new classroom and a new teacher. Perhaps we were shy or socially awkward which meant more stress. And then there was homework and deadlines! And maybe we had been told that the new teacher was really mean!

Some of us were happy to go back to school. Excited by a brand-new box of brightly colored crayons and other assorted school supplies, we were eager to get started. Back to school meant a new classroom and a new teacher! And it also meant being with friends all day and planning for after-school activities with them. Returning to school meant a new grade with new books and things to learn. It was also a rite of passage. We had moved on. We were bigger and smarter. We had been promoted.

Life is a lot like school. Each of us has a unique experience. Some of us resist learning and some of us embrace it. But just like school, you can’t escape it. Learning is a necessary and mandatory part of life. Tom Bodett noted, “The difference between school and life? In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.” Whether you are a willing student or not, life is teaching you lessons every day. And just like in school, you learn more if you pay attention.

William Upski Wimsatt commented on his education saying, “There were no sex classes. No friendship classes. No classes on how to navigate a bureaucracy, build an organization, raise money, create a database, buy a house, love a child, spot a scam, talk someone out of suicide, or figure out what was important to me. Not knowing how to do these things is what messes people up in life, not whether they know algebra or can analyze literature.”

School doesn’t teach you everything. They don’t teach you some of the real lessons you need to know. You don’t learn how to love somebody. You don’t learn how to make love last forever. And you don’t learn how to walk away from someone you don’t love any more. Life teaches you about love. You are always learning lessons about love. Love is what life is all about.

In school, they don’t teach you how to be rich or poor. Life gives you lessons everyday about abundance and lack. Experience teaches you what you need to do and what you need to not do. It teaches you that you accept what you believe you are worth.

Life teaches you everything worth knowing. We are all students. And we are all teachers. We learn from each other. Sometimes we learn how to do the right thing and sometimes we are shown what happens when we don’t do it. We receive an education in the same way as we receive the outlines in a child’s coloring book. The basics are there but you have to fill in all the details by yourself. You get to choose the colors and you decide whether you will stay within the lines.

School is in session. Attendance is required. Show up every day and pay attention! And don’t forget that box of crayons!