Our four year old granddaughter was upset. Her older sister had gone back to school. The next door neighbours had moved and with them their son, who was just the right age for a playmate and the family that had moved in had older children. Life had changed and it wasn’t fair!
Schools went back a few weeks ago to a new term and the start of a new school year. It was a time for youngsters to get back with friends, or to move on to High School, where much would be new and unfamiliar. A new journey, new surroundings, new subjects, new teachers, new friendships and challenges.
This last week it was the turn of university students gearing up for the start of term, a new year and new experiences, some students returning, others setting out for the first term of their university career, many living away from home for the first time. For parents too, it has presented a major time of change, with familiar rhythms, routines and relationships all shifting.
A recent radio programme explored bringing up a family of triplets, two girls and a boy, with the joys and challenges of having events in the children’s lives happening simultaneously. It also reflected the closeness of the bond between the children as well as between them and their parents. The final episode told of how, when they left school, having grown up so close, they parted and went in different directions, two to universities and one into the world of work.
Traditionally January, with its New Year celebrations, is a time of renewal. But Autumn too is a new start. As nature shows, it’s a time of letting go and new beginnings. Letting go and letting be allows room for new things to come in: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)