My kids get out of school on Tuesday. Soon, I'll be the mom of a 3rd grader and a 5th grader. I'm not sure how they've grown up so fast, but they have.
My girls have grown from tiny, fragile babies to strong, resiliant girls who will soon be beautiful young ladies. The days fly by and I find I'm not quite ready for this change. This time next year, my oldest will be waving goodbye to elementary school and be getting ready for the jump to middle school.
I sit here this morning and wonder where this school year went. It seems like just yesterday we were taking pictures and sending them off for the first day of school. Honestly, it seems like just yesterday that they were taking their first steps or saying their first words.
As the school year draws to a close, (I do know many of you have several weeks of school left. Come back and read this post when your school year is a few days from ending.) I find myself reflecting on the things my girls have learned this year and the ways they have grown. And I realize that the end of the school year is a milestone, one worth marking.
In the Old Testament, the Israelites marked significant events in their lives by building altars to God. The altars were a physical reminder of God's faithfulness. In Genesis 35:3, Jacob built an alter to remind him of how God had cared for him when he was at odds with his brother, Esau. He said "Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone."
Use the end of the school year as a time to "build" your own altar to mark the ways that God has taught your children this year. Point out the ways they have grown in their faith and their maturity. Write it down and give it to them. Make it a moment to reflect and remember before you let this school year pass into the pages of childhood memory.
On Tuesday, my girls have a half day of school. We'll come home and have a special lunch. Over lunch, we'll celebrate the things that they have learned this year and the things that God has taught them.
Here are a few of the things we'll be celebrating:
- My oldest learned that watching injustice happen and doing nothing makes you a part of the problem. Standing up for someone else makes a difference.
- My youngest learned that if you want something, you have to persevere and work at it -- even in the face of opposition.
- Both girls learned that putting others' first is of primary importance to God.
- My oldest learned that her body will be changing, and that's part of God's plan.
- My youngest learned that even kids who have learning disabilities or physical disabilities have some amazing talents.
There are more things that we will celebrate, but these are the ones that will start the conversation. Make a list for your own kids, and take a moment out of the hustle and bustle of getting ready for vacation or making plans for the summer to celebrate the year that has passed. Mark the moment and thank God for it -- because it will never come again.