The Magic of School Supplies: Bringing Parents and Children Together
Recently, the WSJ highlighted how back to school is still an in-person shopping experience for a variety of reasons: (1) children/young adults can pick the notebook that they like (2) the ritual of back to school shopping may help transition the child’s mindset towards school, (3) it’s just a time together that both mom and child enjoy.
This was certainly true for me. For the past fifteen years, I looked forward to back to school supply shopping with my children, somehow imagining that getting them the perfect school supplies would help them get off to a great start in the new academic year. For me, there is something reassuring about school supplies; they instill a feeling of organization and confidence.
These experiences came to an end this year, however, when my youngest child went off to college. Before she left we visited Office Depot and spent about 20 minutes shopping in the planner section, as we are both planner fans. I was excited to notice that the product brand names that my firm, Insight to Action, Inc. created a few years ago for Franklin Covey were on display in the store: Master Plan and Easy Plan. My daughter was proud of me and shared in the excitement. As a strategy consultant, my work is often less tactical, so it’s fun to see the tangible results in market.
We debated several critical factors in planner selection, including vertical or horizontal organization, hourly vs. daily vs. weekly, size and many others. In the end, the perfect planner was selected by my daughter. On this trip, we didn’t buy any notebooks or binders, since her college is over 1000 miles away. Sensing my sadness at the lack of the complete back to school supply shopping experience, my daughter consoled me by saying that the planner is the most important school supply, and that with the planner, she was ready for college. I know she is ready. I just loved the ritual of going together and buying the color-coded notebooks and binders.
A few days later, I went out by myself to the local Staples to buy printer paper. I encountered back to school shopping going full steam in the store, with moms, dads, and children all eagerly searching for the perfect school supplies. While chaotic, the scene at Staples was fun to watch, and the Staples team did an impressive job of handling the surge in demand. I looked wistfully at the planners and the notebooks, but remained focused on just the printer paper.