Share on Google+


Back to School

Serendipity - the happy chance of finding something that you did not know you were seeking. 

With Serendipitations (serendipitous ruminations), my posts will endeavor to take every day life situations and help turn them on their head, looking at them from different angles, searching for the gifts and the learning for each of us. As you read the articles, you may want to start thinking ... where is there learning for me here? what are the unexpected gifts here? how can it change my relationships and my life?

The start of the school year is full of crazy mixed parental emotions. We feel fear, concern, and worry on behalf of your children, as well as pride, excitement and love for them. There is the chipping away of our own self-confidence: Did I do well enough? Is he prepared? Will she be okay? What if?

Ahh yes … the ever-present “what ifs”, almost never helpful, but always sure to make even the most self-confident parent reconsider their own grade.

Like most of us, I suspect, I am usually too busy to stop for a moment and reflect on it all, which doesn’t allow me time to process it all, and process, is where the learning is. This gets the coach in me thinking curiously: what does the start of the school year bring up for us as parents? and what can we learn from it?

I'll bet that most of us spend at least a little time reflecting sadly on another year gone by. A minute or two where we think: It goes so quickly, can’t I keep them here for a while longer? I wasn’t ready. How did he get so tall? When did she become so graceful? And yet, we also experience the thrill and excitement of knowing that they are “out there”, living their lives, experiencing new things, and becoming people. After all, isn't this our job? Isn't this what we're supposed to be training them for?

The beginning of school each year marks a coming of age of a sort in our culture, and evokes our natural inclination to remember days past, the ups and downs, triumphs and failures, and with it,  the tendency to view your child’s experience through your own perspective of experiences.

So, if you actually do take a minute to step outside of this crazy mix, and view it from out here, you realize … this is pretty deep stuff. Yet, it all travels through our hearts and minds in mere instants, with no time to pause and reflect on what you are feeling; no time to be with or share your thoughts, let alone share them with your children. Amazing.

All the more amazing because, those emotions and those experiences absolutely impact your behavior, feelings and presence in your relationships with your children in any given moment.

Consider this: if I am in my head about my 5 year old starting kindergarten, how well am I parenting him in that moment?; If I am excited for my daughter to start sports because I enjoyed it so much, how well am I listening to her feelings on the matter? If I think it is ridiculous that my child changed 10 times before school, am I missing an opportunity to provide support (even if humorous)? Maybe an opportunity that could teach my child to laugh at themselves good naturedly, instead of degrading themselves, a destructive habit that can last a lifetime? Am I missing an opportunity to be with and enjoy my child in that moment? A memory we could share and cherish together?

There are no right or wrong answers here, just a simple wondering about how the issues that come up for us at this time of year play a role in our every day lives as parents.

Imagine the connectivity that you could have with your own children if you took a few minutes to share with them, for example,  how proud you are of them, or how worried you are for them, or how unsure you are that you have prepared them well. How could that simple conversation impact your relationship with your children?

And so my coaching challenge for you is this: take 10 minutes, seriously, just 10 minutes, to turn everything in your mind off and explore these questions: what does the start of the school season bring up for me? and what can I learn from it as a parent?

Check back in with me and tell me what’s there for you to share!

Have a question? Want to find out more about coaching? Check out my website:

Kate Ranney Sayle came to Nantucket with her parents and siblings in 1978. Since her days in the Nantucket Public Schools(1990 graduate of NHS) and college (1994 graduate of The George Washington University), Kate has devoted her life on Nantucket to family, friends and community, integrity, and professionalism.

She recently became a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, and started her coaching business Serendipity Coaching Enterprises. She hopes to fill what she sees as a societal need in the education of of teens and young adults, helping to empower, strengthen and champion them so that they may create for themselves the lives they want.


Welcome to, Kate!  I'm sure your posts will answer lots of people's questions about parenting those middle-and high-school kids.

Yay Kate!!! I can't wait to see more. Speaking of school, I was just talking to some high school kids who work evenings at the Pharmacy Soda Fountain and tried to impress upon them that they should start thinking ahead in their sophomore year and try starting a new club or take a leadership role in something, so they stand out when they apply to colleges. Some coaching about college acceptance early on is better than finding out during senior year that you're just an avaerage applicant. It's better to start one new thing, than just participate in ten things.

Great advice Barbara!