I was a bus kid. My early memories are of me and my neighbors standing in someone’s garage in a lame attempt to get warm because it was in the teens outside. Or running to the bus during the rain because waiting outside wasn’t a viable option. I sang along to George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex” without not really knowing what I was talking about. There were kids I liked and kids I despised but none of this I would consider outside the realms of a normal childhood rite of passage.
I didn’t give a second thought to putting my kids on the bus … until I started telling other people we had our children ride the bus. We were met with questions like “aren’t you worried they will get bullied?” or “aren’t you worried they will learn words you don’t want them to know?” Suddenly I felt as if I was sending my children into a lion’s den with medallions around their necks made of raw meat.
Yes, we make our kids take the school bus. Yes, I am worried that they will encounter kids who are mean. Yes, I KNOW they will learn new words and phrases that are not taught in the school setting. But, I survived, and so will they.
While we know that this decision is not right for every family, this is why the bus works for us:
Our Schedule Depends on It
We are all out of the house by 6:56. I work at as a teacher and my husband works downtown with a 40 minute commute. If one of us took our children to school at 7:30, we’d both be late. We need them to take the bus to help us get to our jobs in a timely manner.
It Teaches our Kids that the World does not Revolve Around Them
Me waiting in a line to drop the kids off. Me waiting in line to pick the kids up. Our kids are learning that in order for this family to run smoothly, they need to make adjustments and one of those adjustments is that they need to spend time on the bus so we can adhere to our strict schedules.
Our son came home and told us that he was being bullied and his immediate solution to this problem was for us to drive him. Our son will encounter mean people throughout his entire life. The sooner he learns how to deal with these kinds of people, the better. Now, if physical violence or threatening would have been involved that’s a whole different ballgame. But, this girl was older, a little more assertive and intimidating. We worked with our son and the school’s administration to resolve the issue so my son felt safe on the bus with the other child understood the consequences of her actions. Our son is learning that he will face challenges but these challenges can be overcome and we can move on in a calm and confident manner.
They Genuinely Enjoy It
They like walking to the bus in the morning. They enjoy sitting in the back of the bus with their friends. They think they are “cool” and love the morning bus stop routine.
I know the bus isn’t for all students, but I’m also not a cold, heartless mommy dearest type either. I am thankful for our bus, and our bus driver, Ms. Wilson. She has safely transported my children to school for the last four years and she has become a valued part of our village … and for that I am thankful for the opportunity my kids have to ride the bus.