Time for School: Fears, Tears & Little Prayers

Many of us are getting ready to send our kids off to school.  It’s an exciting time yet it can be scary to trust other people to take care of our children.  When my oldest son Payton went to Kindergarten, he did great.  He’s outgoing and makes friends easily.  On the first day of school I felt sorry for the Moms whose kids were clinging to them and crying.  Grateful I didn’t have their problem, I waved goodbye to my smiling son.  Sweet, that was easy.  

Then…day 4.

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Payton was happy as I walked him into class to find his seat on the carpet.  The bell rang and it was time for me to go.  “Wait.  Mom, don’t go!”  Payton grabbed me.  He started crying.  Loudly.

Uh oh.  Where did my confident son go?  I tried to soothe him with comforting words and tell him it was going to be okay, I’d be back soon.  But the more I tried to comfort him, the more distressed he became.  At this point, I was the only parent left in the room.  All of the children were sitting quietly on their brightly colored carpet squares.  Even the kids who were frightened on the first day were calm now, waiting for me to leave.  But I couldn’t.  I’m a tiny Mama and Payton’s a big boy.  He had me wrapped up so tightly I couldn’t walk.  The teacher calmly walked over to us, and with experience and kindness, gently pried Payton’s fingers from my arms.  As she held him, I quickly made my escape.

From outside, I could still hear my son crying through the heavy metal door. It was heartbreaking knowing my five year old was scared and not being able to do anything to help him.  Wait, what about prayer?  No, I thought, this seems too small an issue to bother God about. I knew my son was safe and would eventually be okay, but his little heart didn’t know that. And if God wasn’t too busy helping other people with more serious issues, what could He actually do to help Payton anyway?  But I know the Bible teaches us to pray continuously and with all kinds of prayers for each other.  So I prayed.  And continued to pray throughout the morning asking God to comfort my son.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  Ephesians 6:18

When I returned to pick Payton up at the end of the school day, I was nervous that he might still be upset.  But he ran out of the classroom smiling, proudly showing off the new sticker he earned.  As we walked to the car we talked about his day and I asked him what happened after I left.  He told me that yes, he was sad and sat by himself for a while.  And during that time, Payton said, “A thought came into my head.”  (He demonstrated this by raising his hand high into the air, then wiggled his fingers as he brought his hand down to touch the top of his head.)  “Mom, I knew you were praying for me and then I was okay.”

And the reason Payton all of a sudden didn’t want to go to school on Day 4?  He finally realized there was actual work involved in Kindergarten. He confessed to being disappointed there wasn’t a playground inside the classroom.  What?  Well, we did tell him school would be fun…

One of the books that has helped me learn to pray for my children is called, “The Power of a Praying Parent” by Stormie Omartian.  It’s short and easy to read.  She has a whole series of books on prayer that are available on Amazon.

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