( Photo: Innviertlerin from Pixabay)

Change. Different. Uncertainty. That’s the way we felt in March when schools shut down and learning moved from school to home via computers. If we were to take a poll today, results would probably show we thought the virus would have diminished by now and we’d be back in school and back to normal. Recent announcements show variety in approach to this school year: meeting in person five days a week; a staggered schedule, and exclusively virtual learning for the first semester or as an all year option.

If students are meeting in school, the dress code has added masks. Behavior codes include arrows indicating which direction and hallways to walk. I’ve heard students won’t leave their classrooms for special subjects, but specials such as art and music will come to them. Classrooms will go to recess one class at a time and not mix with other classes. If your best friend is in another class, it’s unlikely you’ll meet for lunch. We may be back to school, but we’re not back to normal or “the way things used to be”.

Students of any age, and teachers, whether new or veterans, have first day jitters. There’s the element of newness and the unknown. This year, first day jitters take on new meaning as the first day of school and guidelines for the year are unprecedented.

When I taught at a Christian university, the first chapel of the school year encouraged students to be courageous as they took new steps in a different, new, and uncertain life chapter.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NIV

I admit I entered chapel each year predicting I’d hear that verse, but it never got old. Now as I have eight grandchildren attending school in different ways, that verse is one of my prayers for them.

I developed Thirty-one Days of Prayer for Children and Grandchildren with comments specifically related to school. Click here and download it as we pray together for our children and grands. Fill their names in the verses. They’ve never walked into a school year like this one before, but Joshua 1:9 reminds us they are not alone. What a privilege to think our prayers go with them too.

Do you have a specific prayer or scripture you pray for your children and grands?  Please share with us.




Well into the first semester, here are 15 Timely Thoughts to Encourage College Freshmen

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