Reflections on the not so magic school bus
My kids stopped riding the school bus this year. We live in a small, rural community only about 4 minutes on the same road from their school. It dawned on me that while riding the bus is the norm and was certainly convenient it did not have any benefits and perhaps was actually having a detrimental impact on all of us. A change in routine with me driving them has significantly reduced stress in our lives and has strengthened not only our relationships as a family but also our connections within our community.
The bonuses are many: I get to build social relations with the other parents picking up ‘walkers’ at school, I see some of the teachers in the halls and can stop to catch up for a minute or two, if it’s good weather we hang out playing outside school with friends, my kids talk to me and each other on the ride there and back so I find out way more than I did when they were on the bus, we also have more time for fun and stress free homework before heading off to activities.
While driving I have paused to noticed the number of parents on our route that sit in their cars for sometimes 20 minutes or more waiting for the bus when they could drive up to school and get their kids. It is interesting that we become so conditioned to do something a particular way that we never look at it from a different perspective or question the ‘why’.
I know there are many reasons why riding the bus is a good thing for kids and I am not arguing the for or against but more the concept that sometimes taking a step back, questioning or doing simple everyday things differently can have unexpected results.
There are many things that we do in life with little thought or intentionality. Mix it up, try doing something differently or at least pausing for a moment of thought about why you are doing it the way that you are!