Posts Tagged ‘#firstdayofschool’

It’s a thing … a rather big thing,

if you look at social media posts on the first week of school.

Kids, all clean and smiling (real of forced), often standing in front of the door to their house, sometimes holding a sign recording the grade they are about to begin. Sometimes even parents … if they work in schools, because, let’s face it, if we work in schools there is a part of us that hasn’t moved beyond the glory days of school.

I have those pics, in photo albums and on memory sticks. I remember trying to acquire them … often with much insistence, schedule-juggling, bribery and the potential that we would be late for the first day of school (horror of horrors). As the years meandered on, the first day of school picture morphed into the first week(s) of school picture, for that one shot is a difficult one to remember, to organize.

I love those images and the memories they hold … not the memories of the battle to get them taken, but the memories of each child at the age represented. Heck, let’s get real here, they could have been taken in February of that school year and the cockles of my heart would still be warmed by the flashbacks my momma’s heart would experience glancing at the faces from past years staring back at me.

These pics are reminders of an entrance to a new phase of schooling, of life. They are markers along the schooling journey … they represent growth, change, development. They are also images that represent hard work, accomplishment and, for those of us who follow Christ, they are images that remind we parents that what is done is done in His strength, His faithfulness.

Like the Israelites.

They too had 12 markers, but not photos. These markers with twelve stones, representing the 12 tribes of Joshua. God himself told Joshua to create a memorial with a stone from each tribe. These stones were to be a reminder for all time of the miracle of their crossing the Jordan River.

Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.” And the children of Israel did so, just as Joshua commanded, … and they are there to this day.

Joshua 4: 4-7, 9

As a parent of now adult children, I look back on those first day of school pictures differently than at the time. At the time they were hurried images of my littles. Now I look at them and think of the faithfulness of God, who walked through each year with them, protecting them, loving them, challenging them, teaching them.


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Today is the start of the school year, in my neck of the woods.

The slate of last year is wiped clean and the opportunity for a fresh start is available to all … the students, parents, guardians, school staff.

I love this fresh start aspect of working in a school. I love it for me, but I also love it for the students who need a fresh opportunity to show who they really are and what they are capable of accomplishing.

Isaiah 42:18 is a great verse for the start of a new school year:

do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!

Ah, the past. There can be tough stuff in our pasts. Stuff like failures, bad attitudes, not doing our best … and those are just some of the things in my past school year, as a staff member.

But, this verse encourages to not dwell on the past.

This is a new school year and God is doing a new thing. It is fresh, like that new lined notebook page … just like our friend Anne of Green Gables says, “it’s a new day, with no mistakes in it” (yet … but let’s not focus on the ‘yet’).

Don’t you wonder what that new thing that God might be doing? Doesn’t it encourage us to have a sense of anticipation, of waiting? It is as though we need to pause before moving ahead, because God is doing a new thing, and we need to allow him lead the way into this new year.

May this school year be blessed with an focus on new things. May we take our first steps into it, following the one who is leading the way into this new thing.

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This is the final first day of school, for our son, for our family.

Nineteen years ago, our oldest daughter entered kindergarten. Today, as with each first day, teeth and hair will be brushed, new (or at least clean) clothes donned, and a rushed photo was taken at the door, before loading the vehicle with bodies and new school supplies, to make the short journey to their place of higher learning.

It was only this weekend that this reality sent me back through the years of schooling. There were the friendships, the teachers, the school photos, the field trips, the science fairs, the works of art, the sports, plays and musical activities. There have been enough smiles to light up a city, enough tears to fill a bathtub.

Through all the reminiscing, my mind kept bringing me back to one thing which involved each of our three children in their elementary years, but the message of which has become a lifetime challenge, particularly for our son, for whom this is the final first day of school.

When our three attended elementary school, they would return home on the first day of school with a letter that struck fear and nightmares into my momma heart. It was the annual note about the need for an earthquake kit. 

Having grown up on the East Coast of North America, earthquakes were something that happened someplace else. Even now, when I cross a bridge, I recognize that the ‘big one’ might happen before I return to terra firma.

Within that letter about earthquake preparedness would be a list of needed items … granola bars, fruit leathers, juice box, a large plastic garbage bag, a family picture, a letter to comfort your child until you reunite … IF you don’t reunite.

And so, that evening, I would sit, with paper and pen, ready to write.

And I would sob, because what momma wants to write what might be their final communication, to their child?

Eventually, I would take a big girl breath, and write the same message that I wrote the year before, and the one before that. It’s the only message that matters, and it matters whether I am dead or alive.

My child,

I love you more than words could ever describe,


God loves you more,

And he will never leave you.

Whenever I would tell my son this message, that God loves him more, he would place his hands on my cheeks and shake his head saying, “no mommy, you love me more.” And I would reply, “but God loves you most. He gave up his son for you, and I could never give up my son. God loves you more.”

I hope that whether my children are starting at a new school, moving to a new city, starting their own families, struggling with relationships, experiencing failing health, or survived an earthquake they will always remember that they are not alone, but they are surrounded by one who loves them, even more than me.

God loves you more, from the first day to the last, from beginning to end.

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