Back to School Prayer and Blessing for our Children

I walked my kindergartner to his class a week ago and handed him off to a lovely stranger.  He has always been my "hip" baby so I thought that he would cry.  He did not.  He gave me a long hug and settled in his tiny chair.  I pressed my nose against the window and watched him for a few minutes and then left him in the hands of his teacher and God. 

As parents, we can all relate to separation anxiety.  We wonder if we prepared them enough to face the challenges of the world and whether they will remember all the lessons that we thought them over the summer.  I was comforted by a recent sermon of Dr. Sharon Carnahan, titled, "What is in your backpack?"  As we send our children off to school, she suggests that we place a few reminders in their backpacks.   (1) Place a copy of the Bible in their backpacks or download it to their phone or iPad.  (2) Remind them that they are a child of God.  (3) Remind them that God wipes their slate clean every day and every day they can choose to be a better person.  (4) Remind them to be kind to and to interact with kids who seem different or have a disability.  (5) Remind them to take a stand when someone is not being treated kindly.  

My advice to my five year old was simple; smile, be nice and make a friend. 

Dr. Carnahan also shared this lovely, thought-provoking prayer by Ina Hughes, titled, "A Prayer for Children."  

We Pray for Children - who sneak popsicles before supper,

who erase holes in math workbooks,

who can never find their shoes.

And we pray for those

who don't bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers,

who are born in places where we wouldn't be caught dead,

who never go to the circus,

who live in an X-rated world.

We pray for children

who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions,

who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money.

And we pray for those

who never get dessert,

who have no safe blanket to drag behind them,

who watch their parents watch them die,

who can't find any bread to steal,

who don't have any rooms to clean up,

whose pictures aren't on anybody's dresser,

whose monsters are real.

We pray for children

who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,

who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,

who like ghost stories,

who shove dirty clothes under the bed,

who never rinse out the tub,

who get visits from the tooth fairy,

who don't like to be kissed in front of the carpool,

who squirm in church and scream in the phone,

whose tears we sometimes laugh at and

whose smiles can make us cry.

And we pray for those

whose nightmares come in the daytime,

who will eat anything,

who have never seen a dentist,

who aren't spoiled by anybody,

who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep,

who live and move, but have no being.

We pray for children

who want to be carried and for those who must,

for those who we never give up on and

for those who don't get a second chance.

For those we smother with affection and

for those who will grab the hand of anybody kind enough to offer it


Blessings to you and your children on the first day of school and every day.  Squeeze them tight and then let them go so that they can soar.  Celebrate the kids that they are today and who they will become tomorrow.  Remind them to smile