Village Voice - September, 2005

Off to School … With Prayers

September means the start of many things.  The weather changes, the days start getting shorter and kids go back to school.  My oldest child will be starting Kindergarten this year and it’s hard to believe that my little boy (or “little bear” as I like to call him) is growing up.  I’m sure that my fears are the same as most parents whose children are beginning “big-kid” school for the first time.   What will his teacher be like?  Will he make friends?  Will he do well in his class?  Have I prepared him adequately for what lies ahead?

I’m both sad and excited at the same time about sending my first-born child into the wilderness of Kindergarten.  I won’t lie to you.  I’ll cry for a bit once I’ve left him at the door of his classroom on the first day of school, but I guarantee you one thing.  He won’t.  He’ll march directly into the classroom and will likely say “Good-bye” to his mother over his shoulder.  But the excitement of something new will be entirely more interesting than his boring mom.  If only we could all be so excited about new situations.  I’m proud of my son for his outgoing nature. 

There’s only one thing that keeps me going when my child keeps moving forward, not looking back.  FAITH.  Faith that God will protect him.  Faith that He is watching over my child, and that when I pray for guidance in parenting him, those prayers will be answered.  Faith that God has given me the tools I need to show him how to live.  Faith that God chose me to be his mother for a reason.  How can anyone parent without faith?  There’s so much uncertainty in parenting, so many questions, so many things you can mess up.  Faith and prayer are essential in parenting.  Let’s face it, you can read all the parenting books in the world, but our Father in Heaven knows our children far better than any book.  He is the real guide.  And while I can’t be in the classroom with my son, I know God will be there with him every step of the way.

Starting Kindergarten is important.  He’ll learn to read and write.  He’ll go to science class (his favorite) and he’ll go to music. According to Robert Fulghum, a former Unitarian minister, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”  In his book, Robert Fulghum outlines some of the most important life lessons which most of us learn as five-year-olds. “Share everything; play fair; don’t hit people; put things back where you found them; clean up your own mess; don’t take things that aren’t yours; say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody; wash your hands before you eat; flush; warm cookies and cold milk are good for you; live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some; take a nap every afternoon; when you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together; be aware of wonder – remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all  like that; goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die and so do we; and then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK.”

 Those are all extremely important things to learn.  Where would we be if we didn’t learn these things?  I say this to point out the importance of Sunday School in addition to learning math and science, reading and writing.  Teaching children about faith and loving God and taking them to Sunday School is also important. The things children learn at an early age stay with them throughout their lives.  In Sunday School he’ll learn about God and grow in his walk with Him.  He’ll learn to have faith that God has a unique plan for his life and while God doesn’t always do what we want Him to when we want Him to, that He listens to us and hears our prayers.  He’ll be able to use a textbook of life -- principles that he can keep with him throughout his entire life where he can find comfort in a loving God.  It’s wonderful to see the faith that children have in the promises of God, and how this faith can grow as they do.

So I’ll pray for Connor’s Kindergarten teacher as well as his Sunday School teacher (those who know him would say that’s a good idea!).  And I’ll pray that he does well in school and that I am able to help him with his studies and that he’ll make lots of friends.  But most importantly, I’ll pray that he continues to learn about faith in God and that he’ll grow into a strong Christian with strong values and principles.   And I’ll pray that one day he’ll be able to pass along those values to his children.

                                                                                                                                    --Kasey Malatesta