Today, kids around South Africa start a brand new school year and parents around the country are preparing to cope with another year of school lunches, show & tell, extra murals and tight schedules. 

Today was a tough day for us. While everyone was filling up my social media feeds with happy images of their child’s first day at school, first day of Grade 1, proudly dressed in their new school uniform, Walter and I walked hand in hand into school with Ava today, for Grade R, it’s not her first  day of Grade R, it’s her first day of her second year of Grade R and we were all apprehensive. 

She was upset this morning because she doesn’t understand why she won’t be seeing her friends. She doesn’t understand why she doesn’t get to go to school in her uniform. She doesn’t understand why she has to do Grade R again. 

My heart nearly broke when she clung to us and whispered…. “Mom, I’m scared!”

Today was not an easy day. Leaving her there, with not a single familiar face insight. With a new teacher and with kids she does not know. Forcefully removing her little arms from around my waist, stepping away and walking away while she called after us. 

Being a parent means making tough choices with tough consequences for our kids. Just because the benefits far outweigh any difficult circumstances, it’s still not easy. Making this decision to keep Ava back was hard. For all of us, but most especially for her. 


From my own experience, as an emotionally immature child myself and repeating Grade 6 after limping my way through previous grades, I know that this part will be difficult, the settling in and making new friends, I also know, this will be one of the greatest years of Ava’s school year. My repeated year was the best year of my school year. I loved it. Excelling and out performing others in my class had a HUGE impact on my confidence and self belief and I believe it will be the same for Ava.

She will no longer be the baby of her class, she will be one of the, if not the oldest in her class. 

Someone described Ava as having the heart of a lion…. and my child, it is so very apt for you:

Symbolic Meaning of Lion

  • Wisdom
  • Power
  • Royalty
  • Dignity
  • Courage
  • Justice
  • Ferocity
  • Dominion
  • Authority

Symbolic Messages the Lion Offers Us

  • Have courage, have faith
  • Stand tall, remember your birthright of power
  • Hold your head high – even in times of conflict – conduct yourself with dignity
  • It may be time to defend something that is dear to your heart – defend it fiercely if you must
  • Perhaps it’s time to show your authority (not in a dominating way) but lead others with a loving heart

You are fierce and fabulous my Love, go out there and ROAR!

Heart of a Lion