Back to School

Its Almost Time for Fall

Today, I am shopping for school supplies for my “little brother,” Mr. Ethan. Ethan is now 13 years old and is entering 8th grade. He has been my “little brother” for almost 4 years. We have had this school supply ritual for the past 4 years as we prepare for another school year. We both feel the optimism of the fresh start and have hopes for a school year filled with success. There are many memories of school preparation that I recall from my own student years and the years of raising my 2 sons. I remember battling with my father to squeeze 6 or 7 dollars worth of new school supplies out of him. It was the only nightmarish part of returning to school. My sons and Mr. Ethan do not have difficult memories of getting my support for their academic experiences.

In the United States, the school year usually begins at the end of the Summer months and in the beginning of the Fall season. There is a lot of history for me of major life transitions at this time of year. Besides school starts, I remember that my mother passed away on September 10th, the night before 9/11 in 2001. I have experienced relationships begin or end in the Fall. I remember jobs starting in the Fall. I remember moving and travels and my birthdays and many other significant experiences that historically have happened to me in September and October. To be honest, I have mixed feelings regarding the period that transitions from the end of Summer into the Fall seasons. Everyone has these anniversaries than can affect the emotional sensitivities of certain dates or of specific times of the year. Every year my wife asked me about how I am doing with my emotional survival at this time of the year because she has had to weather some tough Fall seasons with me in the 29 years we had together.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Fall. I love the change of weather and the days growing shorter. I love the football season and the World Series. The changing colors of the leaves and the crispness in the early morning air are things that I celebrate. And yet, after living for 60 years+, I have ambivalence about what life may bring in these coming months.

I challenge you to reflect on your own memories and feelings about the changes of these seasons. Perhaps, for you, there are other times on the calendar that inspire you emotionally and historically as Fall challenges me. If nothing else, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere remember to begin to prepare. Gather fire wood. Harvest nuts for the Winter. Make your nest safe for coming cool and wet months. And, as always, gather your family and friends for a chance to enjoy the fading warmth and light as the seasons change.

If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, forget all this maudlin drivel and get ready to celebrate Spring and your warm lazy days of Summer…. There is always a different perspective to embrace.

Take good care of yourself. If you require support or assistance with stress or anxiety consider contacting the Stress Education Center for coaching or group trainings at and send your emotional blessings to my “Little Brother,” Ethan, as he embarks on his fresh academic start.