I stood at the fence crying, waiting for my big brother to walk me home. The kindergarten students were dismissed 15 minutes before the other students and I needed my older brother. After all, he was in third grade. A really big kid, a 6th grader who was a Safety Patrol, was exercising his new found authority by telling me I had to leave the playgound, THAT WAS THE RULE!
What was I to do? How would I get home by myself? I wasn’t sure which way to go. (I lived four blocks straight down Illinois Street, turn right on Washington Street and my house was the second house from corner – 315 South Washington Street.)
But I didn’t realize that. I had walked to school with my brother and I was going to wait and walk home with him. All 700 students who attended Lowell Elementary School in Wheaton, Illinois walked to school. At least it seemed that way. There were no buses and it was rare for a student to be dropped off by a car.
It was 56 years ago that this situation occured, yet it is my first and freshest memory of school. It amazes me that memories like that remain and the accompanying feelings are often felt as well. I went on to have a very good year in kindergarten and have wonderful memories of my years in school. Yet that first day…
I had played school since I was about four years old – my first pupil was my younger brother. (At this point, all southern ladies say “Bless his heart!”) It was true, I imposed the iron will of my teaching authority on his sweet, compliant nature. He now works very successfully at a prestigious university, so hopfully the damage I inflicted was minimal.
As parents and grandparents we want our children to have positive experiences in school. Some parents choose to homeschool, often with the goal to ensure positive learning experiences. Yet is it possible to guarantee positive outcomes for our children? Even in playing, I possibly gave my brother negative learning experiences.
I was reading this week in James 1:2-4 (NIV)
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
There are trials, hurts, and disappointments that our children will face in school. There are times when we must advocate for our child. A dear friend recently mentioned that she and her husband (who is a school administrator) recently changed the school their children attend because of unresolved issues that were adversely affecting their children.
How do we know when to intervene, and when to let circumstances run their course so that our children learn “perserverance … making them mature and complete”? There are no formulas. It takes wisdom and faith. Those are qualities I must seek from God.
Guess what? The very next verses in James say …
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
So, there are times during this school year when you will need to seek wisdom from God. Like every day! When we ask, we must believe – trust – that God is faithful.
May God Bless each of these precious children as they begin school this year. May God Bless each parent and grandparent as we learn to trust.