Angst in August: Our kids in the new school year
The decision of where to send our school-aged children this fall is going to be so very, very hard. Please don’t breeze over your decision, even if, as a parent or guardian, you’ve already made up your mind as to how—and where—your student/s will start this academic school year.
Let’s look at the angst before we get to answers. The questions we face can seem unsurmountable, especially when a year ago, the toughest decision most parents had to make was which bookbag their child would take to school.
Too much is unclear. How do we keep our young ones safe AND educated? If we send them off to school, how will they get there? What will they come home with, especially if there are people in your family whose health is already compromised? Will they themselves be safe? What, exactly, will happen if we opt to have our children experience socialization at a public, private or charter school? If wearing masks and staying 6’ feet apart at all times is the new norm (and it will be), is this the best option for our children and young adults? Conversely, are they really going to grow if they sit home in front of a computer isolated and perhaps under stimulated with online learning?
The questions are enormous. The possible outcomes are not just life changing, they are life threatening. As a columnist, I have stayed out of the argument over whether or not people should be wearing masks, or if “this thing is even real.” I can’t do this anymore if I’m to continue this column. Said simply and directly, listen to the highest medical pros holding no political agenda. This. Is. Real. And. This. Can. Kill.
As a pastor with an advanced degree, it is time I speak to those who are turning to God for answers as to where their children should attend school. First and foremost, yes, pray. And pray. And listen to God in prayer.
Do more than this, too.
God guides in prayer, especially when we ask for it. So, not only ask for guidance and wisdom, but also keep yourself open to those God sets in front of you with information you need to hear. Hold conversations with those you respect. This is not a time to take some information, lay out a few options on cards on the kitchen table and play some cheesy, camped-up version of eeny meeny miny moe.
It’s time to get real with God. Specifically, it is time to get real in your relationship with God.
What God wants is clear. The Divine wants a personal, daily (even minute by minute!) relationship with you. Yes, you. Sinful, selfish, know-it-all, don’t-know-it all, far too busy you. God didn’t create a pandemic to get your attention, but we can use a pandemic to draw close to God, who, in turn, will draw close to us (James 4:8).
Listen. God, who can accurately be described as selfish in the best way, wants you all to Himself. No exceptions. He is first (Matthew 6:33, John 3:16, Galatians 2:20). The rest is just…well, extra or bonus. This includes the kids in your life. (Yes, gulp, I just said your kids are a bonus.) Here’s the thing. Both your life and your kids are His gift. Specifically, they are His gift to you. These gifts are not something you’ve earned because you think you made good decisions along the way. Another way to say this is give to God what is God’s. What is God’s? Everything.
God blesses those who know Him (Psalm 119:12). Know Him. Now is the time. Oh, anxious one (and um, all of us are anxious at times), now is the time.
When you know God through the Word, in prayer, and in a community of fellow Christians (and that is a 1-2-3 here), then trust not me but God when I say that whatever decision you make will be blessed.
Yes, your decision will be blessed because you unequivocally know no matter what comes—good, bad, or worse—that God is already ahead of you. And this God, your God of love, will hold your hand through all of your tomorrows, and then some.
With that, rest in your decision. Then move on toward more prayer, study, and fellowship.