By: Sandy Churchill
While images of autumn conjure scenes of falling leaves, chilly morning air, and groups of schoolchildren huddled together by school bus stops, the glorious season also stirs an energy of new goals and fresh beginnings.
On a recent trip to our local elementary school to teach enrichment classes, I happened upon a jaunty parade of paper pennants, strewn along the first and second grade hallways. The crayoned goals made me smile. The “goal mindset” at the top of each one led into individual aims for each child, imagined and committed to paper. One child set a goal of “coloring more neatly” while another wanted to “learn to read,” and an older student wanted to “learn multiplication.” I love the spirited confidence to set a goal and tackle it. What inspiration!
This spirit of goal-setting reminded me on the homeschooling and household front that we can set personal and family goals as well. On a personal level, I am committed to lowering stress to increase joy. This means saying “no” sometimes, even when every ounce of my being wants to volunteer, be helpful, or embark on a fun adventure.
On a homeschooling front, some goals include mastery of certain essay styles for my 12-year-old, practice with algebra and geometry, steady improvement in piano, and a more streamlined schedule with a little more time to actually be home instead of constantly jetting class to class.
For family goals, time is at a premium for my grad-school-busy daughters, and my husband’s and my work schedules seem to draw us all in scattered directions. Thus, we all need better management of time to prepare meals and all the makings of our comings-and-goings—from backpacks and lunches to daily planners and water bottles. All of us need to be more organized to cut the stress and streamline success for the days ahead. To-do lists are a must for all of us. Even my 12-year-old has a weekly syllabus to keep him—and me—on track. Fall is often a time to stock up on fun notebooks and jazzy pens that make list-writing whimsical as we tackle the bounty of tasks, calls, errands, and such.
Autumn shares its glory of crimson, gold, orange, and plum in the sun-streaked foliage overhead, but the smoky scent of musky leaves also shares nature’s enchanting time of change. The energy in the cool of October mornings seems to whisper a sense of hope and encouragement to each of us, as we set out to learn something new, master a skill, sample the work of an undiscovered author, embark on a fresh adventure, or simply do something better than before.
So I will embrace my favorite month of the year with another reason to be joyful. October, in the very heart of autumn, offers each of us, as mom or dad, student or grandparent, worker, neighbor, citizen, daughter, son, brother, sister, or friend—a gift of a fresh start. This can be a time to wait at our own personal bus stop for a ride to something new. We need only to hop on…