My favorite social media holiday is back-to-school time — when our feeds are flooded with photos of your kids’ first day of preschool, elementary, middle and (if they let you take a photo) high school. I also delight in the images of parents dropping off their new college students, though I do choke up a bit with you as I imagine you driving away, leaving a part of your heart behind in some strange land, I mean, on campus.
My own kid is just two years away from that moment, so I begged him to let me take a first-day shot this year. I blamed it on his new t-shirt — a charcoal number with a large face of Sade painted on the front, her hair pulled back, her signature gold hoops dangling. “It’s just so darn cute,” I told Sol. “And it’s like you’re wearing my childhood. I loved Sade when I was your age!”
“I love Sade, too,” he said, except he pronounced the name so that it started with a smooth s and rhymed with fade.
“It’s ‘shah-day,’” I said. “Look, if you’re gonna wear history, you need to know it. Name me one Sade song!”
He stumbled, but, being the jokester he is, quickly gathered himself. “I can do better than that,” he quipped. He started singing muffled, indecipherable verses — peppering in words like “life” and “love” — to throw me off. I didn’t recognize the melody at all.
I doubled over and he did, too. Deep belly laughs that carried so much: joy to spend a few mirthful moments before the start of a new school year and a yearning for summer vacation to stretch on a bit longer, allowing me to take on a new project: schooling the kid in all things Sade.
But even though our time with our school-age kids is limited most of the year, we can squeeze in light and heftier lessons about life, the world, history — and we can open ourselves to what they have to teach us as well.
This L.A. Parent issue captures this two-way street of learning:
- Our cover model, the “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” actress Abby Ryder Fortson, talks about she caught the acting bug at 4 while accompanying her actor parents to auditions.
- In “Back-to-School Mental Health” and “How to Keep Calm During the Chaos of the School Year,” we explore ways to help your kids — and yourself — have a healthier, less stressful year.
- “Gender is a Spectrum” guides us on how to support trans and nonbinary youth and their families.
- “AI & Your Kids” is our first foray into this ever-evolving technology.
- Our Inclusive L.A. section offers a roadmap to success that covers navigating your child’s autism diagnosis and finding support to employment advice for young neurodiverse adults.
Other stories cover the book-banning fury sweeping the nation (and California is not exempt), reflecting on freedom on the beautiful island of St. Croix, story time and math tips from PBS SoCal, student leaders, better sleep and lunchbox tips, fantastic fall events and more.
Enjoy, and have a safe and enriching new school year!