Schools are now back in session or will be in the next week or two. As a kid, I loved summer until right after the 4th of July. Then the long, lazy days of summer got “boring” for me and I couldn’t wait for school to start again. As a parent, the summer called for creativity as to how to keep the kids engaged in community activities i.e. Harkin’s Tuesday morning movies, Reading Club at the library, Parks and Recreation camps, and a myriad of special programs they couldn’t attend during the school year. My kids still share fond memories of the crazy summer activities they were able to participate in.
As a grandparent, I find myself in a totally different space today. Between COVID and school shootings, kids and teachers are in such a different place and mindset that one could not even imagine two years ago. COVID has left many children, youth and young adults anxious - and socially insecure (actually adults too!). School shootings have left us, young and old alike, fearful, lacking trust, and anxious.
There is much to be worried about, and with nine grandchildren, I am worrying a lot. In my morning prayer this past week, I read something I heard before, but I heard it in a new way. Whatever you are looking for you will find…if you are looking for bad things, you will find them. If you are looking for good things, you will find them.
This doesn’t take my worry away, but it puts it in perspective. There is a lot of good going on, especially in schools. I see teachers being so creative in welcoming their students back after summer break, sensitive to the overarching anxiety we haven’t shaken off yet (my daughter-in-law is a kindergarten teacher!). I see parents lending incredible support to teachers and the school - dads being more present at school - some even volunteering as security. I see the innocent smiles and hugs of the children when they see their friends again! These may seem like insignificant things, but I tell you the more you look for good things, the more they show up!
And of course, I couldn’t end this without a prayer!