I write this post looking out our back window upon fresh construction. I’ve been watching the structure rise from the remains of an old scrub field just behind our backyard fence. We have watched them clear the land, level the surface, set the foundations, and raise the walls. Each day, we see a new element of the building take shape. Sometimes it is only a coat of paint or a new layer of brick. Some days it seems like they have finished an entire section in one day. There are even stretches of weeks where it seems like they are working and re-working one particular patch of the building until they get it just right.

Everyday, the construction workers show up before daybreak and leave as the sun retreats. These days it seems like they are there well into the night. They have a deadline for this new structure to be completed – the first day of school.

You see, we have enjoyed watching my kid’s new elementary school being built over the last year – right in our back yard. It has been a fascinating process to watch. Sometimes progress goes incredibly quick – and painfully slow.

What is also special about watching this process is watching my oldest son as he oversees the construction via the perch of our kitchen window. He is watching with expectant eyes, as he will begin his kindergarten year at this school in a few short weeks.

Our emotions are mixed as we begin this coming school year. The start of kindergarten. A new school. New teachers. New everything.

We are sad to see our kiddo go from the shelter of our home into the unknown of daily schooling. It’s a little scary.

Yet, he is ready. So ready. We have worked hard, and he can’t wait to get started.

I’ve always wondered why parents get all weird with the new school year. Now I understand a little more why.

Yet we have watched the construction workers show up day after day to make sure the building is ready for the first day of class, so we hope we do the same. Day after day we pour into our children, hopefully building into them the values we hold most dear and bravely send them forward into a new stage of life.

If you are reading this, we want to encourage you. We often worry that we haven’t prepared our kids enough for the challenges life throws at them. Maybe they are ready. Maybe they are not.

But day by day, we have the opportunity to put another brick in the wall. We can challenge our students. We can avoid “saving” them from their mistakes. We can find ways to trust our kids, even if they have broken our trust. Daily, we create ways for them to solve problems, deal with stress in a healthy way, and make better choices.

Brick by brick we build these things in our children. And brick by brick, they are tested to see if the work was good. Let us be the kind of adults whose work will stand up to the difficulties and challenges our world will throw at our kids.

The work will stand. We just have to be willing to keep laying the bricks.


Chris Robey, Teen Lifeline’s Program Director, has worked with teens for over a decade and strives to help students see the best in themselves.