Education and the Status of Women. And OMG my Baby is Grown Up and Leaving Me.

Surely it’s common knowledge that one of the most effective ways to transform a society is to educate the kids, particularly the girls. In the last twenty years in Canada, women have made great strides in education, now surpassing boys in educational achievement (Women and Education, 2011. Statistics Canada). And around the world, the number of girls entering primary school is almost equal to the number of boys, though globally access to education remains an issue, and girls are still less likely to enter secondary school than boys (The World’s Women 2010. United Nations). The point is, the world is full of new possibilities for children and for society when education is accessible. In my country, it’s so accessible that I can walk my daughter out my back door and to a highly rated elementary school, for free.

Tomorrow I will walk my daughter out my back door to her highly rated elementary school for the first time. I’ve been so excited for this day, more excited than she is. For me, school was such a joy, and I loved exploring the world so much, I stayed in it for 24 years. I hope that she finds the same inspiration, fun and support that I did. I hope I hope I hope.

But still, the hardest part of this whole parenting thing is that for each of the important firsts, there are fewer to look forward to. There was her first smile, her first roll-over, her first tooth, word, steps, stairs, haircut….. they came so fast. But school. This is a big first. No one prepared me that after this first, I’d realize how many fewer there would be.

She will fly, she will sing, she’ll cry, she’ll learn and the world will be her oyster. I’ll cheer from the sidelines and backstage and wipe tears and help with homework. And I’ll never, ever forget to note how precious each of those firsts are.

Hannah walking away

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