Back to school!

Everywhere I look, I see back-to-school ads, sales and the uncertain faces of my children.  I understand.  In fact, I’m right there with my kids in spirit.  While the beginning of a new school year is always exciting, with it comes anxiety about the challenges that lay ahead be they academic or social.  I have always looked forward to the beginning of the school year.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy summer but by the time August rolls around in Texas, the heat can really beat you down.  By that time, even the swimming pool isn’t even enticing anymore. 

But it’s not just about the heat.  I’ve always loved the possibilities that come with a new school year too.  The fresh, new pencils and notebooks are symbolic of the fresh start that I knew would be filled with fun and success.  But, I also had butterflies.  Would I be able to handle the work?  Would the teacher be nice or strict?  Would my friends have changed?  I’m sure some of those fears are running through my children’s heads with a few of their own “originals” thrown in for good measure.

Now, back-to-school includes all the excitement and memories of those days long ago when I was the student plus the excitement, relief and worry of a parent thrown on top!  Now, my worries are the same but they’re multiplied by three, children that is.  Will my children be able to handle the work load?  Will they have nice teachers?  Will they keep old friends and make new ones? 

I guess the beginning of a new school year is a bit like riding a roller coaster.  You wait for it to start with excitement and a dose of fear.  You finally get in the coaster and there’s no turning back.  You start to think you should have stayed in bed when off you go!  As you plummet into your new school year, you hold on for dear life and try to take in all of your surroundings.  You find out one of your friends is in your class and suddenly you’re heading back up, then you have trouble opening your locker and down you go.  A nice teacher helps you and up you go.  Then a homework assignment sends you down again.  By the end of the ride you’re filled with relief and excitement that you survived.  But mostly, you’re just glad you didn’t throw up.


Here are prayers for teachers, students and parents as we start the new year:

For teachers:

As I step into a new academic year, Restore my spirit.  Renew my passion for sharing your wisdom and nurture my compassion for those You put in my charge.

Transform me as I seek to transform:  Guide me as I seek to guide; Open my mind and heart as I seek to open minds and hearts to the Good News of justice and peace.  Help me listen more deeply to the world and to your Word, so I can walk with my students, attentive to the Wisdom that calls us all to the Kingdom of God.

by Jane Deren

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