The “Back to School” season is in full swing! Grocery stores are packed to the brim with school supplies, students are arming themselves with new clothes, new backpacks, and new hairstyles, and next week most of them will be back in the classroom.
I still remember my first day of Kindergarten like it was yesterday. My parents took pictures of me beaming with my new backpack, and cried as they dropped me off. When I got home, my mom was so excited to hear about my first day, but after experiencing my first full day of school activities all I wanted to do was hide in my room and rest!
We all have our own Back to School rituals and traditions, I’m sure. But this Back to School Season, ask yourself this question:
Have I prayed over my student this year?
I mean out loud, with the family, praying for God’s wisdom and protection throughout the school year. If not, I believe it’s something to consider. Here’s why I believe that sending God back to school with our children is more important now than ever before:
- School Culture Takes an Emotional Toll: I taught for four years in an inner-city, Title I school, and one memory is forever burned into my mind. A sweet 6th grade Hispanic girl arrived in a frilly dress and adorable red ribbons in her hair, so happy about starting Middle School. But by lunchtime on that first day, I found her sitting on the Cafeteria floor with tears rolling down her cheeks. Kids can be cruel to each other, certain academic subjects can feel overwhelming, and new social expectations can catch students off guard. Have you prayed for emotional and spiritual protection for your student?
- School Culture Takes a Mental Toll: School is designed to train our children how to think, and they pick up on the good as well as the bad. Our students will have their beliefs about God challenged in the classroom, will come across ideas and philosophies they have never heard of, and will befriend classmates with worldviews that are dramatically different from their own. This can be a good thing, and our children may just influence their teachers and classmates for Christ. But they also run the risk of being influenced, and beginning to doubt the things we have taught them. Have you prayed for moral and intellectual protection for your student?
- School Culture Takes a Physical Toll: Jumping into a full school schedule will leave most students feeling drained and exhausted after each day. Not only that, but schools with gang activity or active bullying puts students at risk of physical beatings (or at least the threat of one). I’ve had fights break out in my middle school classroom, and had one quiet and timid little boy named Max tell me with tear-filled eyes that another student broke his arm because his voice sounded like a girl’s. Have you prayed for physical protection for your student?
The Good News
My point is not to scare parents or give them a panic attack. I simply think that we need to remember that school days have changed quite a bit since the nostalgic days depicted in a Norman Rockwell painting.
But here’s the good news. If we pray for God’s guidance and protection over our students, He will go with them.
Let the following verse encourage you as you prepare your own students for their first day of school:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Picture Credit: “His First Day of School,” by Norman Rockwell. Painted for the Saturday Evening Post.