My wife and I have an annual "back to school" ritual.
On the first day of school each year, we drop our kids off at their school together.
Then we head to Starbucks for a coffee and celebrate the end of another successful summer.
Both parts of the ritual are important to us.
The first part is important because we feel it's a way for us to show support for our children.
The first day of school can be filled with different emotions; excitement, worry, fear, and more. And while most years our kids are happy to head off to their new classes and meet their new teachers, there have been a few years where the fact that we've been there to hug them and tell them that everything was going to be great proved helpful.
Also, when the kids see Daddy (who they know works a lot) block off "back to school" time in his work calendar every year to complete this ritual, it sends two important signals.
"You are important" and "Your education is important".
And the second part of the ritual?
It reminds us how important it is to celebrate the small wins.
And we have four kids, so, trust me, getting through a full summer without going mad is more than a small win, and a win that definitely warrants a Venti Pumpkin Spice Latte.
I'm NOT saying every parent should adopt a similar "back to school" ritual.
And I fully realize how fortunate I am to be in a place where I control my own schedule, which allows me to do this every year. I know not everybody has that luxury.
What I'm saying is that sometimes, your work can wait.
And sometimes it should.
Determine what matters most to you, then make the time for those things.
Family. Friends. Health. Sports. Music. Art. Religion...
Whatever it is that's important to you, make the time for it.
For me, it's my four munchkins.
And one day, they're not going to want Daddy to drop them off at school.
So I'm going to enjoy it for as long as I can.
P.S. This photo of my four children (Chloë, Aidan, Charlotte, and Andrew, listed from tallest/oldest to shortest/youngest) was taken by my wife on the kids' first day of school; it has been posted with their permission.