My mother-in-law maintains that for her, the first day of school was always sad because she missed having her four boys at home on the farm. The boys knew it too. Each year as the end of the summer approaches and a new round of ad commercials featuring harried parents and stern teachers appears on TV my husband says, “My mom always told us how much she loved having us home in the summer and that she looked forward to seeing us again at the end of every school day.” Whether what she said was 100% true or not, her kids never doubted how much they were loved.
Contrast that with this Labor Day weekend morning announcement I once heard in church: “Parents, Tuesday is the day you’ve been looking forward to all summer—the kids are finally going back to school!” Ouch. The laughter and smattering of applause that followed told the kids in that congregation something too.
Starting or returning to school is a milestone in the life of the children, the youth, and the educators in your congregation. As God's family it's important that we acknowledge milestones and take the opportunity to lift up those who are experiencing them.
In the previous post (Two Back-to-School Ways to Encourage Children) I shared some simple ideas I’d found. Today I came across another idea to share from a post in The Advocate. Rituals and Transitions: Back to School Litanies includes three great resources: an encouraging Back-to-School Liturgy for children, a positive Back-to-School Liturgy for Youth, and an understanding Back-to-School Liturgy for Educators.
September is also a good time to include in your worship service this excellent adaptation of the Prayer for Children as reminder of the needs of children and youth in your church, in your community, and around the globe.
Because everyone wants to be loved.