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Back to School Blues

It's that time of year again when the holidays are coming to an end and parents are getting ready to empty their bank accounts in readiness for the new school session. This will happen in a few weeks from now as most schools will resume in between the first and second weeks in September. It has been quite a long holiday and most children have had a good time either holidaying in one part of the country or the other and even for some, outside the shores of our country for the summer holiday. Parents who have children in primary and secondary schools have also on their own parts, had enough rest from the daily school runs. Teachers and the non-teaching staff have been obviously well rested from all that physical and mental exertion that their daily activities in the school require of them. Busy roads that lead to most of these schools have been free of the usual morning and evening traffic caused by drivers who come either to drop off the kids in school or to pick them up from school at the end of the day. Most of the bad driving, of course are caused by the women who come for these school runs. All in all, the message here is that the holidays are coming to an end and all these would change soon. Yes. Very soon, the hustle and bustle of the new school session will take over the order of the day and life continues for parents, teachers and students alike.
 There are however, certain things which should be put in place before the schools re-open. I'm talking about books, school fees, registration procedures for those being admitted into new classes, those moving from JSS3 to SSS1 who are expected to pay for new books, school uniforms, etc just like new entrants, etc. This is the time for parents to pay attention to certain details so as not to be caught unawares. I am making an appeal to mothers, especially to look into most of these details if they haven't started.
A lot of these children were given holiday homework to keep them busy throughout the holiday period. Were you able to go through their Newsletters? Most of the information you need for the new school session are contained in the newsletters. Please, go through them thoroughly. That is where you will know if there has been an increase in school fees; a change in the school bank details so you don't go paying your children's school fees into a wrong bank account; that is also where you will see the new school rules if any; the holiday homework for each class; etc
This is why it is expedient to be detailed about these things so that your child will return to school fully prepared and very ready for the new school session. Again, many of our children have their school bags torn or completely worn out and in the dire need to be changed. Please check them and see how manageable they are. If the school bags are manageable, kindly get a shoe maker to stitch the torn places neatly. If however, they are in no condition to be managed, go through your closet and you just might see an old school bag used by your older children and in manageable condition. Get it fixed, wash it properly and you're good to go. If not, please buy the child a new bag. Remember, it's a new school session and every child deserves to come back fully prepared to face the hurdle of a new class. What about their textbooks? If by now, you haven't started buying the textbooks your children will use in the new school session and their new classes, then you should bear in mind that you may have to buy them at exorbitant prices because most books are bought at cheaper prices during the early part of the holidays when books were really cheap and there was poor sales generally. I however will encourage parents to go through their children's book shelves and check for textbooks used by their older siblings so as to save money. This is why it is important to encourage your children to wrap their textbooks with wrapping sheets so that even after a new session, it will still look new because the back cover is protected by the wrapping sheets. When you are able to get some of these textbooks in your bookshelves, it makes you spend less on the remaining ones.
A lot of our children have used their school shoes to the point where they are actually very embarrassing for them when they stand in the midst of their fellow students. Mothers, please change these shoes. If the leather ones are too expensive, kindly go for the plastic ones. Their panties, singlets and stockings should not be left out too, these children are our sole responsibilities and we owe them the obligation of being well kept. If your child looks tacky, then you have a tacky personality no matter how expensively dressed you are every day. How many of us have our children's school uniforms torn in different places or their buttons out of their holes? Please, there are mobile tailors called 'obioma' walking around all over the place on a daily basis with their sewing machines. Employ their services and they will neatly sew up all the torn places in these uniforms. They are actually cheaper than the regular tailor in a shop. It hurts to see a child wearing a blue school uniform and then when you look closely, you will see where a red thread was used in sewing a torn part of the blue school uniform. Like I said, the way your child or ward looks or acts, says a lot about you no matter how well dressed you are or how expensive your jewelries are.
The recession has eaten deep into the inner recesses of this country and parents are not finding it funny. Yet, it is time to pay school fees and I can only pray that the Good Lord provides for us all so that we will be able to carry this heavy load of the paying of school fees this month of September. I want to encourage parents not to be tired in this venture called Education. Educating our children is the most important investment we can ever take part in. Education rules the world now. The government has even made it cheap for parents by providing public schools which cost little or nothing to give our children basic education. Gone are the days when parents sent out all their children to wealthy people to serve as house helps or maid servants all in the bid to get back education in exchange for that very abused position. Well, the story is different today because in every rural community you visit today, there is a government school erected in it for the residents. What am I saying? The importance of education cannot be over emphasized because everywhere you look in the world today, its merits leave a trail and this explains the reason for this present scramble for it by all and sundry.
My message today is a simple one. Take the preparation for the new school session seriously. Take the school resumption seriously. Do not let your child be the student that will be embarrassed on the first day at school for not having their basic needs provided by you. Most boarding houses keep their staff outside the gate to check our children's bank tellers and ensure that their school fees were paid to the last dime. A lot of times you see students being sent away because they did not come back with proof of complete payment of these fees and it hurts any child in those shoes because, apart from psychologically making them unprepared for the new school session, you have also succeeded in embarrassing them in the presence of their peers. They might be ridiculed at some time during the school session and I hope you believe me when I say that no child enjoys that humiliation.  So, my advice remains, if for any reason you do not have the resources to complete the payment of your child's school fees for any reason, kindly call the principal of the school before the resumption date and explain your plight to him or her. Tell them when you will be able to pay the fees and most importantly, do well to fulfill the promise so you don't make a fool of yourself or look irresponsible before the school authorities. Let your word be your bond. If you do this pre arrangement, the guarantee is that your child's name would be noted down and submitted at the school gate to the teachers in charge of checking the school fees tellers at the gate. The moment you come with your child and they see his name on the list, he will be cleared immediately without any form of embarrassment either to you or the child.
Let's all try to be responsible parents and see that our children and wards are ready for the new school session. For schools that insist on buying textbooks from their own bookshop, now is the time to buy them before the mad rush on resumption day. For Federal government colleges that pay with bank drafts, now is the time to go to the banks and get the drafts and not on the last day when the crowd in the bank will make you spend your entire day standing in a long queue and doing nothing else on that day. For fathers that leave all the preparations to their wives, kindly understand that these children feel it when you just step aside and leave all the work for their mothers. It's not enough to bring in the money for these things.  Your fatherly role which is physical, emotional and psychological gives them a sense of trust towards you. It makes them look up to you. Don't let them give all that love and trust to their mothers and be the ones complaining tomorrow that your children prefer their mother to you, 'upon all the money you spent on their education.' No. It's not always about the money you bring in. It's about the role you play too.
Finally, I pray that as we carry out these tasks of, not just parenting, but proper and sacrificial parenting, our efforts shall not be in vain. I pray the good Lord to bless us through these children. They are our major investments. Yes! They are our very hopes for the future. God bless us all! God bless our children!!!                                      








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