A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Back to the Books

Posted on: August 26, 2013

Sometimes I think I should have been a teacher or a school librarian.

I loved school and still look forward to returning to routine in the fall. Poring over continuing education calendars is right up my alley; I love to learn. And I don’t mind back-to-school shopping for my son. Not that he’s so keen on hitting the books now, but that wasn’t always the case.

first day of school

My son’s first day of junior kindergarten in September 2004

I remember walking my son to school on the first day of junior kindergarten. He was excited to be big enough to go to school so he could have fun with the other kids as they counted, read, painted, checked out library books, played sports and went on field trips.

And I remember when my son had to change schools after our move back to Ottawa. He joined his new class in November and had to meet new teachers and classmates and adjust to taking the bus. Fortunately, the whirlwind of classes, book fairs, bake sales and spirit days made the change easier. And then he started middle school—and changed schools again—a year later.

Next year, my son will start high school, with its longer classes, heavier workload and greater opportunities to participate in extracurriculars and start focussing on a career choice. And before long, he’ll be in university.

Some people say the early years fly by; I find the time goes faster now as school, homework, taekwon-do, and drum lessons and practice fill the days, and we have to make time for family time.

With the start of the 2013-2014 school year just a week away, here are my prayers for my fellow parents:

  • For those with young children starting school next week, I pray that God would grant you patience if your children are anxious about making friends, spending the long day at school, or riding the bus—and comfort if, like my son, they barely wave before running into the school or onto the bus, and the change is harder for you. I pray that God would guide you in using the extra time you may now have, perhaps for volunteer work, paid work, or special time with your younger children.
  • For those with children starting at a new school, I pray that your children would find understanding teachers, new friends, and activities they enjoy to ease the transition. (My father was in the military, so I changed schools several times, and I’m shy as well, so I know how hard it can be to adjust.) And I pray that you would encourage your children to welcome new classmates.
  • For those with teens in high school, I pray that your children would keep up with their schoolwork even while they make new friends, join clubs and try out for teams. I pray that they would stay connected with the Church by attending Mass and participating in youth group activities. And I pray that their faith would help them resist invitations to cut classes or to try cigarettes or drugs.
  • For those with students headed off to college, university or trade school, I pray that your children would adjust well to their campus and professors and to life in another town and on their own if they’re attending school elsewhere. I pray that they would be responsible in attending classes, completing assignments, handling the tasks that come with greater independence (such as doing laundry, shopping for and cooking meals, and paying bills), and taking care of their health. And I pray that they would find a local church and a Catholic Christian Outreach group (or something similar) so they stay grounded in their faith, focus on their studies, and avoid the party lifestyle students can fall into.

Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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