Steve Eighinger

The more things change, the more they stay the same ... well, kind of, anyway

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Aug. 30, 2019 12:01 am

Labor Day weekend always has a strange feel to it.

Part of me is always saddened, because this is the unofficial final punctuation point for summer.

But another part of me is always ecstatic, because Labor Day weekend traditionally rings in the high school and college football seasons. Pro football has to wait another week, but you get the idea.

This weekend is also likely the last major family holiday gathering until Thanksgiving. And, no, Halloween does not count.

Speaking of family, I've been thinking lately how one constant that has always been tied to Labor Day has not changed much over the years. This time of the calendar also represents the start of a new school year, which despite remaining much the same has, in fact, changed rather dramatically since I was young.

Growing up, I remember school traditionally beginning the Tuesday or Wednesday after Labor Day. Nowadays, I see some school districts opening the doors in mid-August or earlier. While I've read the reasons why, and yes, most of them seem to make sense, it just doesn't "feel" right when school starts before Labor Day.

I know, I know. It's an ever-changing world, and we must adapt. Andy by "we," I mean the old folks.

One change in the modern-day approach to education that I fully support is the dress code -- or lack thereof -- that I see when taking various ages of grandkids to and from school. I have absolutely no idea at what point modern man decided it was necessary for kids -- whatever their age -- to be forced to "dress up" to go to school. I graduated from high school in 1972, and if we had shown up wearing jeans, shorts, sneakers or some form of T-shirt we would have been told to go back home and change our clothes. I thought it was ridiculous then, and still do.

Allowing kids to be comfortable, not only in what they wear but in their learning environment, should always be an educational key. Fortunately, today it appears to be.

I've been taking my own kids and my grandkids to school since the mid-1980s, and for the most part that process has remained virtually the same. They hop in the car and they eventually hop out, and while they dress much differently these days, the in-car, pre-teen chatter has remained remarkably similar through the years.

When listening to them, it can be difficult absorbing their conversations and not smile, if not openly at least to myself. The talk is always about boyfriends and girlfriends, what someone said about someone else and, at some point, what's for lunch.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. They just start now in August, rather than in September.