I think that we should change the date when we celebrate the start of a new year.

You see, some people think that the new year starts in January with all sorts of hoopla and ballyhoo. But it really doesn’t.

The true start of the year is the day that school begins. In some communities it is the traditional day after Labor Day and in others it is late August.

So, knowing that, I always bought our family calendar about now. I would go to a big-box office supply store and get the large desktop one that has plenty of room to write in each daily box. It’s the “academic” version that goes from August to July.

As our family grew, I found I needed a bigger and bigger calendar. So each year in late August or September, I would purchase the calendar and begin my own New Year’s ritual.

First I would fill in all our friends’ and family’s birthdays and anniversaries. Then I would take my district’s school calendar and fill in all the vacations and workshop days.

Then I would take my husband’s district’s school calendar and fill in the same details and hope for some overlap.

The next step would be to take our children’s district school calendars and fill in the same vacations and then, hope for even more overlap.

As school years progressed, I had more events to write: field hockey games, soccer games, indoor and outdoor track meets.

As they grew older, I would have the dates when they left for college, when they came back for vacations. Lately we’ve had graduations and weddings and even an anticipated grandchild’s birth.

Of course, being an elementary educator, I would use a different color for each responsibility. I was left with a virtual rainbow of commitments.

Now our children are grown, but I find our calendar is still full — though not quite so colorful.

We still measure yearly progress from September to September because my husband is still working in education and after all, nothing has quite so much promise as the beginning of a new school year.

Pencils are sharpened; lunch boxes are clean and fresh; and if you are lucky, you might even have a new pair of shoes.

For the past 20 years as an elementary school principal, on the first day of school, I stood at the door welcoming children and families back.

Of course I smiled and asked how their summer vacation went. But if someone were to be listening very carefully, they would have heard me say to each child, quietly, under my breath, “Happy New Year.”

Because, after all, September really is the beginning.