The Fatherhood Chronicles CXII

Sofie Goes to School

Although I’ve been blogging less, and did not commemorate Sofie’s first day of preschool with a blog post, it was, nonetheless, a big, big day.

Anna and I have talked about, looked into, and prayed about preschool for Sofie. On the one hand, we both were utterly disgusted by those parents around us who shelled out five-figure tuition so that their little Johnny or Katie could get into the preschool that would get them into the grade school that would get them into the prep school that would get them into Harvard or what have you. My thought: there’s a lot of sex, drugs, and rock and roll between now and then. Make sure Johnny and Katie are taught virtue and discipline first. On the other hand, we know our daughters, and we know a good preschool experience can help make the transition to kindergarten and grade school a blessed one. But what to do? We couldn’t afford a high tuition, and we didn’t want any sort of new age, Pelagian, group think paradigm warping our daughter’s brain and heart. Plus, we still had grade school to think about. Our parish has been talking for some time about forming its own academy, but such things still remain conceptual.

As it turned out, God’s Providence placed us in the right place at the right time. With one slot open, Anna once again made connections with Guardian Angel Pre-School (at the St John the Baptist Orthodox parish), and after an interview the week before school was to start, Sofie was in. We’d thought about the preschool before, but for whatever reason, this time things clicked. And, they also have kindergarten and first grade (and are adding a grade each year), so we also have a place for further schooling.

Tuition, of course, was a concern. But thankfully the preschool costs are low, and I also received an unanticipated raise at work (Providence, again) that covers the cost of the tuition (with, quite literally, a few dollars left over).

And, boy, has Sofie taken to preschool! She loves it. She was quiet and shy and anxious for all of ninety seconds as we started checking her in for her first day. But by the time we reached the end of the check-in, and she got her name tag and stickers, that was gone. She put on her name tag, and then, literally, jumped up and gave one of the teachers a big, enthusiastic hug. “My name’s Sofie!” she said.

We went back to her class room, which was in the large chapel. It was something to enter the doors, and to see the altar with the icons. I’ve never before been in a preschool or grade school where one crossed oneself and bowed before entering the classroom. Her class room is great. They even have a prayer corner. That first day was also the day when the priest, Fr John prayed over the children, and blessed the waters (which subsequently blessed water he flung with rather vigorous authority over all present).  It’s a Greek parish, and thus the prayers were mostly in Greek–I had to really strain to hear the Greek that’s been mostly text for me–which ain’t a bad thing as far as I’m concerned.  Sofie can trade conjugations with her old man, when the time comes.

After the blessing, the children heard a story read–which book Sofie, not surprisingly, already had at home and had already had read to her a few times–and then it was kisses goodbye till after class.

I admit to getting a bit verklemmt a couple of times. But seeing Sofie dive headfirst into her first day and the experiences of the Orthodox preschool, my overwhelming emotion was of deep, deep joy. The Lord has been very good to us, and it is so wonderful that our daughter will receive her education in an Orthodox way.

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