Another first…first day of first grade and some advice

Posted By | September 6, 2019 9:23 am

Playl’s Ponderings – By Steve Playl    

“Are you excited about your first day at school, Katie Grace?”

Nahnee was on the phone with our almost 6-year-old.

“Yes!” Most of her words flow like music. This one word answer was a staccato.

K.G.’s response to almost any question, which opens with the words, “Are you excited…?” is certain to be the same. Affirmative and positive! She exudes excitement 99.6 percent of her waking hours. I could sense her enthusiasm from the kitchen, and Sammie was in the living room as their conversation bounced from cell phone towers and through the atmosphere.

As my wife walked toward the part of the house where I was making coffee, she offered some grandmotherly advice for the first grader, “Katie Grace! Don’t let any little boys kiss you today!” Her playful banter came from her lips in a stern admonition.

Then, with a voice of experience, she continued. “On my first day at school, in first grade, I received my first kiss from a boy. I was waiting for my mother to pick me up in front of the school, when all of a sudden this little boy ran up, grabbed my hand and kissed the back of it. I went ‘Pee-yew’ and tried to wipe it off on my skirt. It was awful! I just knew he had given me COOTIES.”

“…so be sure you don’t let any boys kiss you!”

“Don’t worry, Nahnee,” she spoke reassuringly, “I’m too young for boy-kissin’!”

For reinforcement in the teachable moment, K.G.’s schoolteacher mom, our daughter Shannon, added, “Mom and Dad, do you remember the experience I had that was similar to Mom’s first day at school?”

We had forgotten. So she reminded us. In true deja vu fashion, a little boy had kissed Shannon on the hand on her first day of first grade. As it turned out, he had chicken pox. Shannon caught it and passed it on to her two sisters. How could we have forgotten that? We remembered when she reminded us.

So Sammie reminded her again. “Don’t forget that you’re too young for boy-kissin.’ If you see one coming, you better run!”

A couple years ago, it was a little different. When Shannon warned K.G., good-naturedly, not to hug any of the boys in her pre-school class, she pouted, “Aw, man!” I guess she’s growing up.

Scripture is filled with kisses. But in the Bible times, a kiss was usually given as a greeting, often between family members. A kiss on the cheek. A hug or embrace. It usually was given to show affection, but not the romantic type. A hug or kiss in the Bible was most commonly a gesture of friendliness.

One of the most famous kisses in scripture was a kiss of betrayal, when Judas greeted Jesus with fake loyalty and a kiss on the cheek. That kiss identified our Lord to His enemies and also sealed Judas’s place in history as the most treacherous of disloyal deceivers.

Most folks welcome expressions of warmth and fondness. It may be a handshake, a touch on the shoulder, a fist bump, or a hug. Kisses in our day and in our culture should be reserved for special people, on special occasions. Perhaps a wave and a smile or a kiss or a hug, or just a simple word of encouragement – bringing cheer to someone is a gift that should be shared.

Ecclesiastes 3:5 reminds us that there is “a time to embrace and a time to avoid embracing.”

At the end of that first day in first grade, Shannon called to report that K.G. had loved it…best teacher ever in the whole wide world, no homework for the first week, and no boy-kissin.’ Well, guess what! In a couple weeks, she’s coming to Nahnee’s and Papa’s to celebrate her 6th birthday. We can hardly wait. I plan to squeeze her in two, and Sammie will leave Nahnee marks (lipstick) all over her stinking cute little face.

Steve Playl, chaplain, columnist, college instructor and former pastor,

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