It’s that time of year! Back-to-school pictures are all over social media; kids sporting this year’s favorite outfit, brand-spankin’-new shoes, and nifty backpacks. Front doors of homes across the country are plastered on social media with kids standing tall and proud. I’ve seen several already, but more are coming including those of my own grandkids who haven’t started the year yet.

The most precious back-to-school picture I’ve seen so far was of a little guy less than excited to be heading off to kindergarten. I’ve never met him, but I love watching him grow up through the posts of his mom. She is a FB friend and was a student when I was on staff at our alma mater. The two of them – mom and son – have an awesome and unbreakable bond, and this much-loved little guy is usually all smiles – full of orneriness, and sweetness – but not today. Not on his first day of kindergarten. This kid would rather wrestle an alligator, jump from an airplane, or hike up a rugged mountainside than step inside his kindergarten classroom today, and it showed in his pictures! Oh my!

I’m praying for him. For his mama too. Praying his AFTER school picture shows a much happier little one. My guess is he’ll be out-like-a-light shortly after getting home – kindergarten is tough work, you know! But, oh what precious memories these before-school pictures will hold in just a few years.    

I have always loved this season. I loved everything (well, almost everything) about school. Those shopping trips to get supplies (the lists were simple back then), new shoes, and maybe even an outfit or two. Nowadays, back-to-school shopping – plus enrollment fees, lunches, sports fees, etc. – can almost break the bank. Right? As a parent, I dreaded the costs associated with this season, but we managed, and the excitement still outweighed the dread. 

My continued enthusiasm for this back-to-school season is probably attributed to seeing it through the eyes of my daughter (a teacher) and my grandkids (most of whom love school). As their excitement grows – and it does – mine does, too. New adventures await. Hard stuff, as well as great stuff. I love to see their back-to-school pictures, celebrate who they have as teachers, and hear all about school after their first days and that will never change.

Perhaps it’s in my genes since my maternal grandmother was a teacher in the early 1900s. I wonder what it was like back then. Times were different. No school supply lists, I would guess. And no new shoes for most; shoes were only necessary as fall became winter. That’s when the hand-me-down game began. Who can fit into these shoes? Which coat fits this child or that one? I wonder if in small communities they swapped between families, too. I’ve read my grandmother’s journals, I’ve seen her lesson books, and I even have a 1911 picture of her with a bunch of ragamuffin students in rural North-central Kansas. She was an enthusiastic educator! 

Did excitement fill the air for kids as well as teachers in 1911? I’m sure some were eager. Others might have preferred to wrestle an alligator like my friend. Oh, but wait…would Kansas kids even know what an alligator was back then? Probably not – at least not until they went to school.

As I watch from the sidelines this school year, my prayers are with you who are in the classrooms – students, staff, administrators, and front-line teachers! May God protect you always. May He give you enthusiasm and energy each new day. And, may He bless you with new friendships, knowledge, and a stubborn determination to make every single day your very best. Amen. 







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