Posted by: glorifyhim1 | August 23, 2010

The First Day of School (or The First Day of the Rest of Your Life)

Sometimes I think the first day of school is tougher on the parents than it is on the kids – especially when the kids are going to school for the very first time. After all these years, I can still feel the knot I felt in my stomach when I watched my oldest daughter march off joyfully (without even looking back at me), eager for her new adventure. I remember it distinctly – I went home and cried! While it was easier for me to leave her knowing that she was happy and content, I still felt like I was leaving an appendage when I left that classroom.

The next few days I struggled to accept the changes in our new routine. I missed the constant shadow she had become, the endless chatter, and questions. I missed reading to her before naptime and having her company on walks to the nearby creek. Her younger sister and brother missed her too, but we all soon adapted to our new “normal” and built new activities into our routine – watching for the school bus every afternoon, making cards to give her when she came home, or buying a special surprise for her when we went shopping. Our new “normal” became okay and life went on.

As I heard young mothers struggling this past week as they watched their kids go to school for the first time, I thought about what makes this step so difficult for parents. I mean, after all, we want our children to grow up and become independent. Yet we also want to hold on to them for as long as we can. We want to protect that childhood innocence and control outside influences. We know a lot more about life than our five-year-olds – or even our first-time college students. We know some of the difficulties and dangers our children may face and we want to keep them safe and shield them from the bad things in this world.

I wonder. Is this how God feels as He watches me grow? Zechariah 2:8 refers to God’s people as “the apple of His eye” and affirms that God will protect and care for His people. Just like a parent, God knows the difficulties and dangers that are out there for me and He wants to protect and care for me. Yet I’m the one who must make the choice to either look to Him or go my own way. I’m sure it grieves God when He knows how much I need Him yet I look the other way. Do I make Him sad when I stubbornly charge ahead and try to do things my way instead of looking to Him for guidance and help? How does He feel when I run to somebody else or search somewhere else to find answers to my problems? I know that God does not want me to remain a child. He wants me to grow and become spiritually mature. But God also knows that I can only do that as I depend on Him instead of myself, or other people or things. In John 15:5 Jesus states: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” I wonder if God watches me as I wake up each morning and thinks, “This is the first day of the rest of her life. Will she look to me or try to do it on her own – again?”

I never did get good at watching my kids march off to that first day of school. I always wanted to hold on as hard as I could for as long as I could. But, God, in His wisdom, has taught me that a caged bird never learns to truly soar. That comes with freedom. As a parent, I can teach my children and try to help them learn to make good choices. I can be available and approachable so they will want to come to me with their problems or worries. And, finally, I can pray over them and surrender them to God’s care and keeping. And then I have to let go – little by little as they try out their fledgling wings.

Come to think of it, that is pretty much what God does for us. He has given us the Bible that teaches us how to live. He sent Jesus to reconcile us to the Father so we can come to Him boldly with all of our needs. And, Jesus, Himself, prayed for us before He suffered and died on the cross to save us from our sins. (See John 17:20-26.) He has given us everything we need and made the way for us, but the choice is up to us. What will you choose on this, the first day of the rest of your life?

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord.”

(Jeremiah 17:7)


  1. I wonder what happened to me, because now I’m the exact opposite of me at 5. I would rather be home than anywhere else. 😉

  2. I guess you got all that “wild adventure” out of your system at a very young age!

  3. Thanks for sharing your heart, Kathy. I shared your blog this morning with two young moms who left a few appendages in their children’s classrooms today. 🙂

  4. Thanks, Christie – appreciate your sharing the blog. I can still remember how tough that first day of school was! Hope this encourages those young moms a little.

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