I'm usually pretty busy being on the radio in the morning, so I don't generally get the chance to drop my kids off to school. Drop-offs are always handled by my wife, and I'm the guy who handles pick-ups. When I had the day off on Monday, I decided to take advantage of the chance to drop them off.

I was a little surprised to see how significant the backup was as we approached the entrance to the school. A line of cars, trucks, SUVs and buses alike snaked back, and stress was rising as the school start time ticked closer.

During orientation, I remember the principal warning about cutting it too close to the start of school. "If you get here between 7:10 and 7:20 you're pretty much OK. After 7:20, it's in God's hands," he joked. He reminded parents that kids on the bus would never be marked tardy, urging everyone to take advantage of the free transportation.

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I managed to drop the kids off on time, but the line was long and intimidating as I left the school parking lot to head home. It got me thinking: the bus picks kids up RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEIR HOUSE. It's free. There's no worry about being marked late even if the bus arrives to school late – yet there is a conga line of cars waiting to drop off their kids. Why?

The only time I got a ride to school as a kid was if I had to bring in an important, bulky school project. A daily ride to school? That didn't happen.

Why are parents so gaga about driving their kids to school? And no, the answer isn't COVID. While there are definitely parents that are driving their kids in for social distancing reasons, this phenomenon began way before any of us ever heard the word "COVID."

My daughter is scheduled to get her license in December. My wife admits she's having bittersweet feelings about not driving the kids to school anymore. She says it's a precious time with them. It's a time to help set up their day to begin in a positive way, and the daily, repeated conversations in the car are an important part of molding them.

She's not alone. As I listen to Maddie's SouthCoast traffic reports each morning, the back-ups are all around schools at drop-off times. It's no coincidence. Parents seem to love to drive their kids to school when they can.

Take a look at the buses going by in the morning. Are they filled, or do they seem lighter than they were just a few years ago?

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