It is August, and for the first time in my life, that does not mean that I am going back to school. That doesn't feel as strange as I thought it might, because a lot of things are about to start happening anyway! Both my job and my church kind of function on the school calendar. This coming Sunday, the day before the citywide first day of school, is the first week of the Sunday School year, and the following Sunday we will start a new evening Bible study. Also, I will be helping with a Wednesday night preschool music and missions class, which also, of course, follows the school year calendar. And as far as my job, in addition to my work in the office, I will be starting to serve as a coordinator for our Parent Parties.

I don't think I've talked much about my job on here. Let me expound. I work for a Christian-based non-profit organization that is located in a lower income neighborhood, sort of sandwiched between two clusters of public housing. The organization has evolved over its 20-some years based on what the community has needed, and it currently consists of three programs. One is a thrift store that both provides goods and employment for members of the community. Its premise is dignity: if you can't afford a pair of shoes, come work for store credit to earn them! The store promotes similar programs specifically for back-to-school supplies and Christmas toys. We also have a preschool, and the aforementioned program called Parent Parties.

Parent Parties evolved out of the realization that low-income schools tend to have low parent involvement. Two of the ladies I work with developed a curriculum that encourages parents to be present at their kids' schools and teaches parenting tactics. They promote these as parties (complete with snacks!) to bump up attendance, which has proven effective. No parents want to go to meeting after meeting, especially parents who may be young or who may not have done well in school themselves. We market and sell kits of the party curriculum across the country, but we also help put them on in Title I schools around Huntsville, which is where I come in. It will be a bit strange teaching parenting tactics, as I've never been a parent, but as I attended and helped with some of the parties this past spring, I realized that I have a lot of great anecdotes from my own parents to share. I may not have been a parent, but I've been a child, and I think I turned out pretty well.

I have a few other irons in the fire that I'm waiting to find out about, as well, which could make the fall feel even more like a "back to school" time of change. Hubby will be traveling some for work, which just happened to coincide with back to school time. Most of my friends are still on a more traditional school schedule, either literally going back to school or starting jobs that begin in the fall, so I'm still very attuned to the coming sea change. All in all, I still feel like I've definitely had a summer, and that things are definitely about to fire back up.

Does the whole world work like this, or am I in a unique position? Are our kids so central that we can't help but function on their schedules? And also, why do we call it fall when it is still 100 degrees outside?! That might be the biggest question. :-)

Laura Lindeman

Laura Lindeman