My heart always goes out to youngsters at the start of the new school year. These three lads passed me the other day on their way home from school on one of the hottest days of the year. (How is it that the sun starts to beat down the minute term begins?)

Homeward Bound

It’s only when I look at the photo now that I see that they all seem to be engrossed in what I suspect to be their phones. What a contrast to the chatter-chatter-chatter that I associate with cycles to and from school when I was their age ~ everything from cribbing about teachers, grousing about homework, planning a trip to the pictures and, of course, comparing notes about the boys in the other school in town.

The other moment of contrast came when I heard a group of parents on the radio recently talking about how wonderful it was that the kids were back in school and that they (the parents) could have their lives back. They relished the return to the routine and having precious hours to themselves.

All I could do was think back to the sinking feeling I always had when son, Harry’s holidays came to an end; and indeed, my mother and and I waving tearful ‘goodbyes’ to my brother and sister as father drove them back to their respective boarding schools at the end of the holidays. Those were the days when there was no such thing as ‘five day boarders.’ Rather, the terms felt interminable and the time from the end of the Summer holidays to the few days off a Halloween seemed like an absolute age.

Having heard all about boarding school from the other two, I decided to stay put at home and even did the cycling (three miles each way)  for lunch everyday to take the harm out of school.

Have times changed as much as they seem to? Am I just a nostalgic old dinosaur?





Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and I love to write both non-fiction and poetry.

16 thoughts on “Journeys”

  1. I think rather that you are someone who appreciates the importance of relationship–in real time. When I am on the bus to and from the campus, I am always amazed at everyone glued to the phone screen, totally unmindful of the people around them. Yes, it has really changed that much.

      1. Yes, the swans. But ever since someone once disdainfully corrected me that what I called a duck was in fact a loon, I never know for sure. 🙂 Is it a duck, a goose, a swan, or a LOON? The photo is beautiful though, and my thoughts are with you.

  2. That started over here earlier I suspect as when I went to school, I felt as if I was alone, even if i was with others. Europe has been more personal for quite some time. I remember reading English Trucking magazines and marveling that they were listing violations by the person’s name and telling the story. Here it is much more impersonal and hard.

    1. Paul, your comment made me feel sad. The idea of you feeling alone while with other kids back then has me wondering how very shy kids could possibly manage. ‘Impersonal and hard,’ is somewhere I don’t want Ireland to go.

  3. I love the photos of the Swans Jean and when I see the children on their way to school at the beginning of term I always remember how sad I felt when I dropped son Callum off. He was excited to be catching up with freinds and I was the one (and definitely not the only mother) who had tears in my eyes. I have noticed here too that young people are often to be found engrossed in their phones…but not all…a little girl who lives near here spends most of her time on her trampoline…so good to see:):)
    ps Dougal Dog says hello to Stan and hopes he is recovering well:):)

  4. “Never text or use your smartphone while pushing a stroller or using a infant carrier, as even a split second of distraction can lead to a misstep, trip or fall resulting in a traumatic brain injury, cervical spine or cord injury to your child — and even yourself,” he said. (From

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s