Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Back to School Blessings

Even though the calendar year begins in January, for many of us, the "new year" begins in September, when the summer schedule ends and the school year schedule gets under way.  Even if you don't have kids in school, so many other things in our lives operate on this calendar that it's almost impossible not to notice it or be affected by it in some way.

In our house, we are among those getting adjusted to a new routine.  Thomas is back in school and programming is picking up at church.  There are lots of exciting things happening and things we look forward to doing.  Yet in the midst of it all, I am mindful of not getting over-committed as a family.  I know that for me, there is a direct correlation between how stressed I feel and how much I am trying to squeeze in (which leads to having to rush from one thing to the next). I also know that how I feel affects my family.

So once again, I am brought back to thinking about our "big rocks" and making sure we fit those in first in our schedules and our lives. Family dinners, reading time, and exercise are a few of our big rocks. So is having fun as a family, church, time with friends, and sleep. When committing to other things, we are reminded to ask ourselves: does this add something to our lives? Does this take the place of one of our big rocks?

As the new school year gets underway, I invite you to consider what your big rocks are and to then build your family's schedule around those things. It goes without saying, there will always be more to do and there are about a zillion things you could fill your and your children's time with. Sure, some are necessary (like orientation) but some may not make or break their well-being (like adding yet another activity on top of all the others). Whatever you decide is best for you and yours, my hope and prayer is that you are reminded of God's presence in your life and that you have time to notice all that is good, right, and beautiful around you.

Here are a few ideas of how you acknowledge God's presence during this back to school season:

Pray during your commute or while driving your kids to school: look around for prayer opportunities, and ask God to bless those you see: God, bless that woman as she drives to work. Bless that man as he says goodbye to his kids, etc.
  • On busy streets or highways people zip by in cars, trucks, buses, or other vehicles.
  • Walking to a neighborhood school you pass other’s houses or buildings.
  • While rural areas are filled with open space, there is evidence of the folks that live or travel in the
  • area.
Bless your kids as they head off to school: Mark them with the sign of the cross and say, “Remember, Jesus is with you wherever you go. Jesus loves you and so do I.”

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