Back-to-School Kisses and Carpool Prayers
By Rhonda Stoppe
If you have kids in school, by now I’m guessing you’re probably into some sort of a routine. Over the past few weeks I have had so much fun looking at all the back-to-school pictures on social media.
With new backpacks, tennis shoes, and wearing their favorite outfits, thousands of little-ones marched out of their momma’s arms and onto their campuses–And thousands more marched over to their kitchen table, or some other homeschool classroom area in their house.
I get a little misty when I remember all the emotions involved in the back-to-school days at our house. One memory in particular was…
when my son, Brandon, was to start kindergarten.
We had spent the entire summer preparing Brandon–my quiet one–for this life changing event called kindergarten. His older sister did her best to encourage Brandon, as she shared stories with him about recess fun, and lunch with friends.
When the day finally came for Brandon to kiss me goodbye and walk into his classroom, I was completely surprised by his confidence, and courage. He kissed me, and his little sister, goodbye. Assuring us, “I’ll be fine Momma.”
I watched the clock all day to be sure I was on time, even early, to pick up my little man. To my relief, when Brandon got in the car, he was full of great stories of how much he enjoyed kindergarten. I thought to myself, Wow, this is way easier than I expected it to be!
During the evening meal, Brandon told his dad how happy he was that he went to kindergarten, because he really enjoyed it. Phew–we thought to ourselves…
The next morning, when I woke Brandon for school, I said, “Time to get up buddy. It’s time to go to kindergarten.”
To which Brandon replied, “No momma, I already went yesterday––Remember?” In that moment I realized something terrible! I had failed to prepare Brandon for the reality that he would have to go to kindergarten every day!
Somehow Brandon had mistakenly believed that going to kindergarten was a one time event. Something he had to do courageously, and now he could check it off his “bucket list”.
When I carefully explained to Brandon he would be going to school every day–like his big sister–the look of horror that came over his face broke my heart. And when I answered “yes” to his question, “Does Dad know about this?” Brandon knew he had no one to rescue him from this absurd daily ritual he would now be expected to perform.
I’ll spare you the details, except to say my friend, had to peel Brandon’s arms from around my neck every day for a week.
And before you go and think his school experience must have been terrible, I need to point out that we lived in a very remote location where all of the children attended one of the last one-room-schoolhouses in the nation.
Brandon and his friend, Nicky, were the only two kindergarteners in the entire school. And these boys had a precious teacher named Heidi all to themselves. What’s more, Brandon’s older sister, Meredith, attended the same school. She was never more than 30 feet from Brandon at any given time.
Each morning we prayed together in the car, before dropping off at school. A habit I began when my kids were young that continued even on the day we said goodbye their first day at college.
The Bible says, The effectual, fervent prayer of the righteous avails much (James 5:16). And I never prayed more diligently for my kids than when they were at school––away from my watchful eye.
Moms, never underestimate the power of your prayers. Pray for your kids, for their friends, and for their teachers all throughout the day. You may be the only person praying for them.
1 Samuel 12:23 says, “Far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you.”
And what did I pray? Did I pray for them to “be good, and do well in school?” You may be surprised to learn, that was not my prayer for them.
Every day that my son or daughter walked onto a public school campus I determined to pray two specific prayers for them:
- “Father, lead them not into temptation, but deliver them from the evil one”
- “Father, cause this child to love You with all of their heart–soul–mind–and strength.”
And by God’s grace, in the lives of each of my children, He answered the fervent prayers of this mother.
School days can be challenging. The stress of getting kids to the bus on time, finding your son’s shoe before you can leave for school, or disciplining yourself to get up-and-at-it if your homeschooling all put a unique strain on a mom’s sanity at times.
Amidst the chaos–when you feel like you’re just keeping your head above water, remember to pray diligently for your kids. Your diligence in prayer will establish a far richer foundation for your children than getting out the door on time, or finding that missing shoe.
And in the end…take it from a momma whose kids are all grown, I wouldn’t change a thing! It was all an adventure. It knit my heart together with my kids in ways I never could have imagined. And I miss it. Oh how I miss it. And I venture to say, you will to one day miss it too, my friend.
Is it back-to-school time at your house? What dramas have you encountered? I’d love to hear.
Rhonda is an enthusiastic communicator who unfolds the doctrine of Scripture with a contagious passion for Truth, as she teaches and challenges her listeners to connect with God in an intimate walk of obedience. Rhonda encourages and inspires women to LIVE DELIBERATELY to become the women God intends them to be. Recently, Rhonda spoke at Valley Home Educators Convention, and at Spirit West Coast.
Rhonda is the author of MOMS RAISING SONS TO BE MEN, a book published by Harvest House Publishers. Women are drawn to Rhonda’s ability to weave biblical truth into everyday issues, which has led readers to make her book sell an average of 1000 books per month. She is currently writing her next book for Harvest House. She teaches on this and other topics at women’s events throughout the country. She spends much of her time mentoring women and counseling along side her husband, Pastor at First Baptist Church Patterson, CA.
To hear Rhonda’s recent radio appearance How Moms Can Find Purpose and Passion listen HERE!