School starts today for my girls. We have backpacks ready and first-day outfits laid out. The girls are partly excited, partly anxious and partly sad that our summer has come to an end. Mom is partly excited, partly anxious and partly sad to see them go back.
While I no longer have first-day tears (on my part and theirs) like we did in kindergarten, the first day of school always brings a twinge to my heart. Each year as I watch them head into the school building, I realize that we're another year closer to my girls being grown.
This is my oldest daughter's last year of elementary school. As proud as I am of the young lady she's becoming, I miss the little girl she was.
My youngest is now a third-grader. In some ways, that's harder for me to accept than the fact that my oldest is a fifth-grader. My youngest is no longer one of the "little" kids at school. Her class gets grouped with the older kids when they split the school into groups for activities. Since she's my baby, I think that fact makes me realize just how quickly the time has passed.
As I send my kids out the door for another school year, I'm once again reminded that no matter how quickly the time passes or how big my kids get, they still need guidance. I want them to grow like Jesus did: "And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man." (Luke 2:52)
While I want them to grow and be healthy, I also want them to grow to be wise. As they get older, my kids are making more and more of their own decisions. Some are good; some are not.
As they leave our house to venture once more into the world, I know there's nothing I can do to protect them from the things they will encounter. It's my job to build them up at home, pour God's wisdom into them and cover them in prayer when they're gone.
As school starts again, whether we are sending our kids off to a school building or we are their teacher at home, our kids still need us to be their support system. They need us to encourage them, teach them and pray for them. No child is too old to need those things.
Take a moment today, and every day, to give your child an encouraging word, to find a teachable moment and use it and to spend some time specifically praying for your kids. There's nothing more important you can do today.