Diving Into The Unknown

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli

And just like THAT! It’s back to school time. My children head back to the classrooms and hallways and homework and bell schedules next Tuesday!  In one week!    ONE WEEK!

(Which always makes my friends and coworkers on the east coast, who don’t start until after Labor Day, go “Wait, WHAT??”)

I think every year around this time I write about the joys of back to school for our family.  The excitement of back to school supply shopping, the anticipation of what teacher they will get, the mad dash to get in the last of the summer sleepovers and adventures, the combination of dread and thrill of the unknown.  This is where Dylan’s made-up-word, “Exscareded,” comes in real handy.

Because it is Ex-scary. It’s exciting and scary all at once.

Especially this year, for me, because they will now be going to two different schools, ride two different buses, and be on two different schedules. Marlowe, as a new intermediate student, will have a locker and will move between classrooms. We’ve just upped the back-to-school ante here.

What if he gets scared? What if they don’t like their teachers? What if someone is mean to her? What if they feel overwhelmed? What if he gets confused? What if she gets lost? What if they feel sad? What if his crush doesn’t like him back? What if she gets left out? What if they don’t understand? What if she feels pressured? What if he gets bullied? What if they forget to get off the bus? What if I forget to pack their lunch? What if they lose their folder? What if they go to the wrong place after school? What if they…. What if I… What if he… What if she…. What if, what if, what if?????

The unknown is an ex-scary place, indeed.

But I always tell Dylan not to get swept away by the “What ifs”, because they aren’t very helpful at all, are they? I remind him that the what if’s take away from the right nows. So I’m not going to let the what ifs dominate.  Instead I’m going to focus on the right now, and the remarkable courage that they, and every other student in the world setting foot into a new classroom, are showing.  I’m going to hug and kiss them and send them off on their glorious new adventure that is the 2018-2019 school year. Full of unknowns. How scary. And how exciting

And if I’ve got my own unknowns looming? If I’m feeling the “what ifs” creep into other areas of my life? If have an “exscareded” moment? Well I’m going to honor the scared and nourish the excited and dive right on in.

How can you dive in, with exscareded-ness, to the unknown today (and encourage others to, too?)



Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.