‘Twas the night before preschool, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring—not even Mommy and Daddy. And the little one was nestled all snug in her bed, while visions of tigers danced in her head.

Tigers? Wait a second!

OK fine, so maybe there is one little girl in particular who might be dreaming of tigers on the night before preschool. That would be my niece. And it might be my fault. After all, I did give her a copy of Little Tiger School, and ever since we read it to her, she has wanted to go! Who can blame her? As the story goes, “Tiger School is cool!”

Although I do agree it would be fun to learn numbers and shapes and sharing with friendly tigers, we did clarify to her that only little boys and girls would be at her school. Thankfully, she took the news pretty well.

I decided to ask her a few questions to see what she was thinking on the night before her big first day of preschool.

Lily1        Lily2

Me: Are you excited for preschool?
Lily: Yes!

Me: Is your teacher a boy or a girl?
Lily: A girl. And I am a girl, too!

Me: How many kids do you think will be at school?
Lily: Four boys, and lots of girls . . . and babies!

Me: What are you going to wear on your first day?
Lily: A blue and orange shirt.

Me: Is that all?
Lily: And my pink sparkly shoes!
(I can’t argue there! Nothing like a good pair of sparkly shoes to complete an outfit. I did convince her that pants would be a good idea, too.)

Me: What do you want to bring with you to school in your backpack?
Lily: Muffins!
(OK, again, I can’t argue! Even though her school day is only two hours long, you just never know when you might need a snack.)

After I stop to soak all of this in, I have to wonder, how did this happen? I am sure all moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles ask themselves the same question. How is it possible that my little baby is heading off to school?

It seems like just yesterday she was born! And before you know it your mind has trailed off, and you have skipped ahead and they are graduating college and getting married, and tears are streaming down your face!

Wait! Hold up! Breathe! She is only three . . . you have some time.

When I wiped the tears from my own cheeks, I started to think more about what I could say to Lily to support her and motivate her to want to learn and have the confidence to reach for her dreams.

Is three too early for that? She is clearly already ahead of the game when it comes to her choice of shoes and snacks.

I graduated eighth grade in 1990. It was the year that Oh, the Places You’ll Go! was published. I, along with nearly every graduate that year, and nearly every graduate each year after that, got a copy of the book. I also got cards with messages like, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life,” and messages encouraging me to “go confidently in the direction of your dreams.” I don’t know about you, but I have always been a sucker for stuff like this. A good inspirational quote can make you think about your life and maybe even go so far as to help you see something in a new way. So I got to thinking, as inspirational as those books and cards are when you graduate, or when you have finished school, I would have to say they can be just as inspiring, and maybe even more so, at the very beginning of your learning journey.

I say, don’t wait until graduation. Why not start sharing these positive messages from the beginning? I understand that a three-year-old might have a hard time grasping that “today is the first day of the rest of your life.” So I have dug out my copy of that Dr. Seuss book, and I’m gonna hand it over to my favorite three-year-old as she starts on her way.

Me: “And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.) KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting! So get on your way!”

Oh! And don’t forget sparkly shoes and muffins!



Today’s blog post is written by our Senior Art Director, Angie Hodges—who loves sparkles just as much as her niece does.