Near my home, a Washoe County school bus arrives at 7:57 a.m. every weekday to take students to a nearby elementary school.
At this stop, a child from the neighborhood sits in their parent’s parked car about 25 feet from where the bus stops. When the bus arrives, the child gets out of the car and scampers onto the bus. The parent then drives up the street back home and the bus heads to school.
This certainly wasn’t the scene from my childhood bus stop.
Here are the reasons that my children will walk to the bus stop, brave the elements, learn the importance of being on time and tough it out when things go awry – just like I did when I was a kid.
Back in my day…
The saying goes, “You spoiled snots have it made! I had to walk to school, uphill both ways, snow up to my eyebrows, 20 miles each way” blah, blah, blah.
My commute was much less dangerous: It was .3 mile, flat and paved the entire way. I had to pass an angry Rottweiler every day, but she was behind a fence.
My modest walk to the bus stop might not have been much, but it taught me some very important lessons – lessons that have stayed with me to this day.
As we’ve seen recently, northern Nevada winters can be brutal. Whether it’s snow, rain or temperatures in the teens, it’s not ideal to send a first grader out in the cold when frostbite is a legitimate possibility.
This is, however, a great opportunity for me to teach my children preparation for the elements. I can help them understand the weather conditions, and take those observations into account when choosing which clothes to wear, if boots or shoes will be more appropriate and whether gloves or a beanie are necessary.
Sometimes, no matter what you wear, you have to deal with unbearable weather conditions. I remember times at my bus stop where my feet were so cold that I would rush to be the first person in line so I could choose the seat closest to the heater. I had no choice but to tough it out. Often times in life, you just have to tough it out.
Being on time
There were times where both of my parents went to work before I left for school. If I missed the bus, I had to call my parents for a ride.
FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST I DID NOT WANT TO CALL MY PARENTS FOR A RIDE BECAUSE I MISSED THE BUS.
Those consequences ran through my mind and made me take precautions to ensure I was on time. Being on time is of life-long importance.
Figuring out what’s important
My views on bus stop engagement roll into a more comprehensive stance on child rearing. It factors in my wife’s past experience, my past experience (and the conversations between us), current societal trends, where we live and other aspects.
Every family has different circumstances and the right to choose the best path forward for their child. That path for my kids just won’t include them sitting on heated seats in the car while waiting for the bus.