Back to School Part I: The Kissing Hand
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If you are in the States, school has probably started or is about to start for your little ones in the next couple of weeks. Regardless of where you are, however, if you have children in school, your kids probably feel various emotions right around the end of summer, as the new school year approaches. Along with the excitement to shop for new school supplies and meet new classmates and teachers, regretfully, is the anxiety of the unknown about the school year ahead; often times, this could be a daunting experience for many children, especially for younger ones.
For some, your children are probably older and have better ways of coping with new-school-year blues, but for some, including me, your kids are probably just getting ready for their first time at “school,” and may not have the tools to handle the challenges of this new experience. As children feel and address the many emotions of being away from Mommy, Daddy, brother and sister, I would like to share a book that my husband and I read regularly with our 3-year-old son, and will continue to re-read as he ventures out to the world of many “news and unknowns” in preschool.
As you take on the same or a similar transition in your own family, Audrey Penn’s book, “The Kissing Hand,” reminds readers that change is inevitable, but that there are ways to face it. Penn’s book is a handy resource for parents with kids going to school for the first time, and provides good reassurance to your little ones that as new as their new environment is at school, someone at home loves and misses them. Below are a few of my favorite lines from the book:
“Mrs. Racoon took Chester’s left hand and spread open his tiny fingers into a fan. Leaning forward, she kissed Chester right in the middle of his palm.”
““Now, “ she told Chester, “whenever you feel lonely and need a little loving from home, just press your hand to your cheek and think, “Mommy loves you. Mommy loves you.” And that very kiss will jump to your face and fill you with toasty warm thoughts.”” (Penn, 2006).
In retrospect, anyone today could probably use a kissing hand as we strive to live life purposefully and thoughtfully. The foreword in the book reminds its readers of people’s need for reassurance of love, and I agree that young or old, we all have our fears of the unknown and being away from our loved ones. Hence, as I dedicate this week’s article to children going away to school, I also think of people who want to be with or be heard by a loved one or a greater being:
- The friend missing another friend from faraway;
- The brokenhearted praying for god’s embrace, love and grace;
- The father longing for his child that he abandoned years ago;
- The sick pleading for recovery and family;
- The confused imploring clarity and purpose;
- The angry wishing to forgive and understand;
- The child, 0 to 105, realizing his parents’ unconditional love;
- The hopeful awaiting good news;
- The joyful thanking the universe for “The Gift;”
- And of course the parent eagerly waiting for his child to come home from school.
As you hold your kissing hand to your cheek or heart right now, what or whom do you think of?
About the Author: Charm Moreto Damon is a mother, a TESOL professional and a freelance editor. She graduated from the University of the Philippines, and pursued graduate studies at the Ohio State University, where she also taught academic writing and research to international students. She is currently a stay-at-home-mom, and keeps herself busy with family, friends, and editorial work. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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