The beginning of the school year is always a little nerve-wracking at our house. Will Sarah cooperate in her new learning environment? Will Christopher be able to concentrate and work independently?
A few questions nag at me as well. Will I “fit in” with the other parents? Can I find something to do that will be truly useful to the teacher without throwing out my back or spending more time at the school than my children do? Will one or both kids wind up in a “peanut-free” zone and force me to find 52 ways to fill a lunchbox without resorting to peanut butter?
Of course I can. I think I can … Well, let’s hope so.
I’ve learned that school can be a very different experience for parents than it is for their children. I loved school. I soaked up learning like a sponge, and always brought home good grades (frankly, I was a little scared to bring home anything less than a B+).
Now that I’m the mother of kids with learning challenges, I find that school can be not such a happy place. It’s not a good feeling to hear your child receive a “participation award” when all his or her classmates walk away with summas and magnas in academics and moral development. I cringe when I walk down the hall and find that — once again — my child’s artwork didn’t make the hallway bulletin board. I want to disappear into the woodwork when Sarah’s separation anxiety kicks in and she grabs my thigh in a death grip and shrieks like I’m skinning her alive each time I try to extricate myself from circle time.
And so, today I’d like to offer this prayer for those of us who are getting ready to send our children into those hallowed halls of learning — and who need an extra dose of sanctity to get us through the experience.
Holy Father, Source of all Wisdom:
Help us to teach our children
To do what they’re ready to do;
Give us courage to watch them struggle,
To grow brave, and honest, and true.
Teach us to number our days,
And hours and minutes, too,
So that every moment, we can say,
Lord, I’m doing this for You!