Time to create our season of fresh starts

New backpack, check.

Unbroken crayons, check.

Cool shoes, latest haircut, new teachers. Check, check, check. The buzz is evident; excitement and anticipation are palpable.

It?s back-to-school time: the season of fresh starts.

Though I have been out of the classroom and away from public education for several years now, my pulse still beats a little faster this time of year. I cherish my years teaching English at Newton High School and savor the memories of preparing for and anticipating each new school year.

There was nothing like the comfort of a clean slate, a fresh start. Old stresses long forgotten, petty complaints in the past. New faces, new hopes, new expectations.

Not all jobs or professions offer the predictable fresh starts that teaching provides. But, fortunately, life tucks in those occasional new beginnings.

On Mother?s Day this spring, our son, Doc, and daughter-in-law, Rachel, announced that Dave and I were going to be grandparents. Our only son and our first grandchild. What a blessing.

Oh, and by the way, that first grandchild is plural. That?s right?twins! Double fresh start.

I am quietly giddy with excitement. I recognize that we are late entries in the grandparent parade. Many of you reading this are old pros at spinning diapers and entertaining toddlers. But for us, this is the ultimate fresh start. New lives, new loves. A new definition of exhaustion. Can?t wait!

There are new beginnings all around us. Take Newton Now, for example.

Most of us turn to television and online media to stay abreast of national and breaking news. But local reporters keep us in step with the community. Local news connects us to our local businesses, schools, social events, and politics. Good local reporters help us separate rumor from truth, allowing accurate information to shape our thinking.

Welcome, Newton Now. A fresh new approach to community journalism.

Newton seems ready for an attitudinal fresh start. We are overdue for a jumpstart of enthusiasm and a willingness to glimpse the bright side. Time to notice and celebrate the countless good things our community offers.

In recent years we have seen loud opinions overshadow reason and logic. Momentum has been on the side of those choosing to focus on bumps in the road while overlooking the assets and blessings we enjoy on a daily basis. Time for Newton to find its fun button.

Fresh starts begin with an open mind, a tolerance for change, the courage of a new commitment. Some fresh starts involve major life events; often it is as simple as tweaking our attitude.

Try it. Create a fresh start in your corner of the world. Rewrap a complaint as a suggestion. Replace the oh-so-easy snide comment with a genuine compliment. Reach out to someone at work; have a beer with a neighbor. Smile at a crazy driver.

Fresh start. Try it; you might like it.

Barbara Burns has spent much of her adult life working with and for the Newton community in various roles and volunteer efforts. Barb grew up in Newton and?returned in 1980 after grad school and a stint of seeing the world. She works for the City of Newton and shares life with her husband, Dave, who is an attorney with Sizemore, Burns, & Gillmore, PA.

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