Please join us in praying for our urgent prayer request: For preemie Lilly’s health needs. Her twin sister, Brooke, is out of the hospital, but Lilly has heart problems and now severe bronchitis, and is in isolation. Please pray for her, her parents and her twin sister.
It’s hard to believe, but it is that time of year again. Summer is almost over, and parents are preparing to send their children back to school. For some parents this is a joyful time of year, but for me I send my daughters back to school with very mixed feelings.
After my daughters were born, my favorite time with them was before they were old enough to go to school. I loved the feeling of keeping them at home, almost like being in a little cacoon. Now that they are older, I dread the day each year when I will have to relinquish them during the day. I even tried homeschooling for a few years in my quest to keep them at home with me. As they get older, for our family at least, I have realized that there are others that are better qualified to teach my daughters. I also think they wanted more of a social life than spending all day with at home with their Mom. I enjoyed homeschooling much more than they did.
This year, my oldest daughter will be entering high school. This is very exciting time for her, and for the rest of the family. I can’t wait to see all of the activities she will find to become involved in, and to see all of the new friends she will make. She will embark for high school on her own, as she leaves her younger sister behind in middle school. Her younger sister will be in seventh grade and will finally be able to play school sports in addition to her club teams. She is looking forward to it, just as the rest of our family is. No matter how excited I am for them, I can’t stop that feeling of sadness caused by knowing that soon the house will be empty all day.
I always thought my Mom looked extra happy in the fall as she waved to us on that first day of school. I now think that maybe after we turned the corner and were out of sight her smile may have become wet with tears. I know that parents today have a lot more things to worry about than my parents did. These differences are the things that cause me to worry about our children.
The first few weeks of school, our children will be taught how to deal with every possible scenario that may happen at school. As kids, we practiced in tornado and fire drills. We knew that bad weather and fires could happen, but we also knew they probably wouldn’t. We usually welcomed the little extra time outside practicing fire drills. My girls will learn what to do in case of tornado or fire, but they also learn what to do in case of an intruder or group of intruders with or without guns. They learn lockdown procedures, and they learn what to do when confronted by a gunman. Unfortunately, unlike fires and tornadoes, my girls know that this could actually happen. They hear about it on the news way too often, and it is becoming more frequent. The drills are necessary for their safety, but they are also very scary to them. We have many conversations during the first two weeks of school explaining that they don’t need to worry. But, as their Mom I will worry and I will trust that God will keep them safe.
Anybody else worry about what their children are exposed to at school? I know I certainly do. Today there is a wealth of information at our children’s fingertips. This is certainly something that wasn’t available to me. My daughters go off to school with their smart phones, iPads, and they will also each have a Chromebook at school. As parents in this age of technology, we need to be certain of the security measures the school has taken. Maybe I worry about this more than most parents because I work with people who have pornography addictions, but it is something that we need to be vigilant about. When you look at statistics of how many young people have been exposed to pornography and at very early ages, it is very scary. This is one area that parents need to be sure to protect their children. Do you know your children’s usernames and passwords to all of their devices? This is one step that helps me to worry less. I am also one of those annoying parents that monitors my daughters’ social media accounts. I don’t read many posts, but I do check in on them. I think they know not to post anything they don’t want me to read, because they know I will be checking up on them.
When I was in school, we didn’t have bullying to the extent young kids do now. We had the playground bully, but usually we just ignored the bully and went on with our lives. Bullies have gotten so much better. Our children can be targeted at school, but it can continue after school because of the use of computers. It is difficult to deal with a bully in the classroom, but much more so when it is a cyber bully. It is so easy for someone to attack a child this way, and difficult to stop it. This is another reason that I am the annoying monitor of social accounts. We had a child videotape one of my daughter’s classes without the teacher or anyone else knowing. The tape was posted on a social media account against the school’s technology use policy. Thankfully it wasn’t to bully anyone or to do anyone harm, but imagine if that videotape was in a locker room or bathroom. It could have been an inadvertent mistake with disastrous consequences.
Gone are the days when we worry about playground accidents, although I have an accident-prone child so I still worry a little. We are into a generation that is so much more advanced than the last. As parents we can worry, but we need to be vigilant and protective of our children’s innocence. There are so many more concerns I could list, like the school curriculum, health class, etc. I think that this is a good place to start, and hopefully I have given you a few things to think about. As I send my daughters to school each day there are two things I say to lessen my worry: “Jesus, I trust in You,” and a quote from the Bible, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11). If I say these each morning, and repeat them whenever I begin to worry during the school day, I am reminded that they are in God’s hands each day when they leave mine.