This school year, my family is transitioning to having a child in school all day. My oldest starts kindergarten and is anxiously waiting to find out what being at school “all day” is all about. We recently visited with his kindergarten, teacher and his big concerns were finding out how to know what was being served in the cafeteria for lunch each day and if they would be doing painting and art projects in kindergarten.
My second child is also going back to school. She will go for half days this year. Lately, she has been remembering how she cried on the first day of preschool and pondering if she is going to cry this year. “Maybe, but probably not!” she concluded the last time she brought this subject up for discussion.
We have meticulously picked out folders and notebooks, containers of wipes, and packages of napkins and plates. Backpacks were purchased, and shoes that had to be “just right” were picked out. The morning of the first day will have a serious tone, too, as everyone anticipates settling into their new normal.
The Anxiety of a New School Year
Whether it is your first year or your eighteenth year having a child in school, I would imagine that some of the anxieties and worries and excitement and anticipation stay the same.
In the wake of world-encompassing viruses, countless school shootings, and the constant presence of bullying, both in person and online, we have some very real and tangible fears associated with school and what our children might encounter.
These fears reflect the brokenness of this world as we sinfully interact with one another day in and day out. As you face this school year, you can’t control others’ sin, but you can choose to connect with the God who sent His Son to deal with this brokenness and holds all of us in His all-powerful and always-present hands.
Take Fears to God in Prayer
This month, make a plan to start each school day by going to God in prayer. He promises to hear us and be with us always. This is just as true on a school day as it is any other day.
Do you have more than one child in your family? Take turns leading the prayer for each day. Do you have a young, prereading-aged child? Have them repeat after you as you pray each day. Bonus idea: Each day, ask your child how you can pray for them. Then pray out loud for their request too.
Help your children think about situations they encounter at school in the context of prayer and Scripture. Read God, I Need to Talk to You about School.