It’s the beginning of another school year, a school year like we’ve never seen before. We are struggling. All of us. Students, parents, educators. Everyone. So I’m asking for a good school year – a year filled with light, love, and learning, with grace and gratitude, with peace and patience. We are all navigating an unknown sea, so please help us to individually do our best and to see the best in what other individuals do.
Bless the students, whether they are schooling virtually, in-person, homeschooling, unschooling, hybrid schooling, or something else. Let them feel your love through their teachers, parents, caregivers, and friends. Keep them safe and healthy. Keep them flexible in body, mind, and spirit. Help people remember they, like the rest of us, are doing their best, especially when it looks like things are falling apart. Help them smile and laugh and sing and dance and play and compete and listen and learn and grow. Show them the best of humanity and not the worst.
Bless the parents and caregivers, regardless of what kind of schooling their students are undertaking. Be with the parents whose children are away at college, as well as the ones with little ones at home. Remind them they don’t have to be perfect; they just need to be present. When things go wrong, and they will, help them not to cast blame. Instead, let them view their challenges as opportunities to learn both how to give and recieve grace. Help them live as examples for their students of surviving adversity while remaining true to their humanity.
Bless the educators – the teachers, principals, paras, aides, administrators, professors, psychologists, nurses, safety officers, drivers, cafeteria workers, custodians, coaches, directors – all of them. As they give their best to their students and school communities, remind them to take care of themselves. When they feel overwhelmed, let them take the time they need to read, run, stare, or just breathe. Remove the guilt that overpowers them when they think of all of the things they could be doing. Reassure them that they are enough. Help them to care for their whole selves – spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally. When they need help, give them what they need. When they triumph, place people around them who will celebrate them. When they cry, comfort them. Help them to recognize the wonder in this school year.
Lord, please end this pandemic and help us find our new normal. Let our new normal be one where people are treated fairly and have equal access to life’s necessities. Let it be one where we care for our environment. Let it be one where we spread love and not hate. And let this new normal begin right now. In the midst of everything that feels like chaos, bring peace, justice, equality, and love. Help us not wait to begin building until later; let us build now. Bless those who lead the way – our students, parents, and educators.
In Jesus’ name, amen.