For many of my readers, back to school has already begun. For me, it’s next week. This means I have a week full of shopping, packing backpacks, open houses, and other errands. So, I’ve taken this week and part of next week off as we get back into our school schedule.
For those who are dropping off their little ones for the very first time… I pray for your heart. I pray for the safety of your children, that their minds will be filled with good information, and that they are spared from negative influences. I pray they learn to stand up for themselves, their beliefs, and their dreams.
For those who are dropping off the last of their children for their first day of school, I encourage you as you enter this new phase of parenthood. Whether you go back to work, volunteer at their school, start leading a weekday small group, or go back to school yourself… this is going to be an exciting time for you. I pray that you can embrace the changes coming your way, and lean on the Lord as you navigate this new path.
To my elementary school moms, I pray you enjoy this year of art and coloring pages… shoe box projects… repetitive math drills… field trips… and class parties. There is a day this all comes to an end, so be present for as much as you can. Go to the ceremonies, drop off the party supplies, bring the cupcakes, forgive them for their decisions to cut their own hair right before picture day or for putting the temporary tattoo right on their cheek Sunday night after bath time. You’ll cherish these wacky photos and silly memories.
To my middle school parents… HOLD ON. Just, seriously… hold on. This is a rough few years. It was middle school that brought me to meet with my Pastor’s wife because I didn’t know WHO this kid was that just suddenly showed up one morning. It was at my first middle school orientation that I was handed a flyer that said… “No you’re not crazy, but your child is nuts.” You will survive this time, as they are trying to figure out who they are. They are going to want to do some crazy things, they are going to ask your permission… and sometimes not. They are thinking in a different sphere… and I promise you… even they will look back on these years and wonder what they were thinking. Pray a lot. Learn to give permission on some things, so they don’t see you as the “No Machine”. Pick your battles. Pay attention.
To my high school families… wow. High school is another world. A new kid shows up, who one day looks like that middle schooler you picked up on the last day of school… and is now suddenly this person that looks almost like an adult. You will have moments that take your breath away. Then they get a job, find a relationship, start driving themselves, and you see them living the independence you have been preparing them for. They are doing it, and some of them are doing it really well. Which in and of itself is enough to take your breath away, to stop your heart, and choke you up with tears. This is happening. It’s part of HIS plan… and you have done a great job. Keep praying, for your child… but also for the parents who find this is a year of struggle and pain. There are those who despite a parent’s best effort have taken their own path and made some bad choices. Keep those parents in your prayers. Keep a home that is open and safe for children to land, even if they are not your own. High school is the intersection of childhood and adulthood, and it’s as exciting and terrifying as it can be. Keep your head, keep calm, and pray on.
To my senior year mommies… I feel your heart this year, as we enter those waters for the first time. I am so proud of who she has become, where she is going, but my heart breaks daily as we learn to let go a little more. I know what changes lie in the years ahead… and it brings tears to my eyes that would make Niagara Falls look like a slight drip. So, I feel your hearts bursting… your arms reaching… your attempt to balance all of this. Let’s just agree to pray for each other. I’m praying for you and I covet your prayers. This is going to be a fast year… faster than any of us want. But, we’ll get through it together.
And finally, to my parents of college students… whether it is their first year or their last… THIS IS IT. This is what you’ve prepared them for. This is why they needed that independence… so we could let them go. So… LET THEM GO. And, let them know where they can always come back home to. Pray for their studies, classes, friends, experiences, and decisions. Allow them to make decisions about their future, don’t dictate it for them. It is time for these children to become the men and women God is calling them to be. Celebrate their victories, be there for their failures. Love them through it all.
Happy Back to School!