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A Blue Skunk Rant: Back-to-School cartoons

Cartoons with themes like the one above are common in the funny pages this time of year. T-shirts, TV programs, and advertisements often display a "too bad, kids, school starts again soon" message.

I find such messages depressing, not because they are true, but because they don't reflect reality for so many of our children. I would be willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that a majority of kids look forward to the start of school - seeing friends, getting involved in activities, having fun in classes, and for many, finding a certain place of safety and of meals.

How might different kids respond to the "school is bad" message:
  • For kids who already don't like school, their feelings are validated. "I am right not to like school because nobody does."
  • For kids who like school, they may question their feelings. "Is something wrong with me to like school? Am I weird?"
  • And for the kids who may be neutral, they may be encouraged to go negative. "I'll be watching for all the things not to like about school."
I suspect that trying to change the perception of back-to-school time as being a time for mourning is impossible. Humor tends to be associated with negativity, not the positive. (Funnier to see someone slip on a banana peel that to eat a banana and get healthier.) And this view of school has been around for a very, very long time.

But I still wish our society would communicate a little happier message about school starting back up. I know I am looking forward to it!

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Reader Comments (2)

I always question the "poor parents" commercials and idea - parents have been "stuck" with their kids for ten whole weeks...except for their one or two week vacations and the eight weeks of summer camp...

August 24, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterKenn Gorman

Hah! Yeah, I know my grandsons are as busy during the summer with camps etc as they are during the school year. My poor parents just had to put up with me (and put me to work) in summer.


August 25, 2018 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

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