In early September, our 6-year-old daughter, Clare, began first grade. Here are things I've learned from her first month that apply to my life, and perhaps to yours, too.

When you are nervous, keep moving forward

Clare has told me that the elementary school building looks huge and the fifth-graders are “kind of scary.” But that doesn't stop her from walking into school each day with a purposeful, determined stride that doesn't betray fear.

When you need help, admit it

With one of Clare's first homework assignments (homework in first grade?!), my wife and I assumed she understood the concept behind the lesson. But Clare did not, and she let us know loudly with a bit of crying that she needed help. The help was given, the lesson learned, and the tears disappeared.

Don't forget old friends

Many of Clare's friends from kindergarten, soccer, and other activities attend other elementary schools. Clare misses those friends, so she has been inviting them over to our house for “play dates.” Clare and her buddies share history, and I'm guessing they don't want to lose that.

Seek advice from your elders

Clare's sister, Anna, is a third-grader, so Anna has ALL the answers to the mysteries of elementary school: which door to enter in the morning; which lunch options are good, and which bad (chicken strips are “great,” but “the spaghetti is gross, the sauce tastes like metal”); and where to go when the bell rings after school. Clare values the information, and Anna feels proud to share it. The World of Work calls this a “win-win.” Clare and Anna call it “being nice.”

Don't take credit for the work of others

Clare's teacher mistook someone else's work for Clare's. The work was wonderful, and the teacher gave it a smiley face AND an exclamation point. It would've been easy to accept the praise, but Clare became upset and insisted that my wife write a note to the teacher, explaining the mix-up.

When you are tired, go to bed early

Days can be long and demanding when you are in first grade, so it's important to get extra sleep if you feel like you need it. Umm, OK, Clare hasn't mastered this lesson yet, but I'm hoping she does soon.

I'm looking forward to seeing Louisville during the RCMA World Conference and Exposition.

Many of you have told me in recent years that Louisville is one of your favorite cities for meetings. The reasons cited: convenient location for many attendees, nice hotels, a downtown that's easy for visitors to navigate, and two(!) fine convention centers.

One of my favorite activities during RCMA is the Tuesday afternoon sightseeing tours, an opportunity for attendees to see important facets of the host city.

This year two tours are being offered, and I am going to have a difficult time deciding which tour to attend.

One of the tours includes a visit to the factory that makes Louisville Slugger baseball bats. I spent a large portion of my youth with a Louisville Slugger in my hands, so how can I turn down an opportunity to visit the factory?

Well, the other tour includes a visit to Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, the nation's premier horse race. The visit includes seeing the grandstand, winner's circle, the paddock area, and an interactive museum.

If you have ideas on how to make the decision, let me know.
Larry Keltto