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Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

Fear the LORD, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing.

The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

Psalm 34:8-11 NIV

This week’s topic comes with a confession! The mother I am in August is not the same lady I am in May. In August, while I may have a few regrets about a things left undone from the summer, mostly I am excited for my kids to return to school because I anticipate the great things are waiting for them. My teacher-friends spend hours preparing themselves and their classroom as the new year approaches. Most teachers are dedicated, and selflessly work to provide great learning environments for their students.

August brings a hope for the things my sons will learn. Distant worlds with people groups from other times waiting to be discovered. Discussions of new ideas that will expand their views and open their minds. Oh, and those science experiments! I am a science nerd, and am jealous for the time students will be in those labs There will be assignments to building math skills, although the real lesson learned may honestly be endurance and problem solving. What do yo do with Calculus anyway? My sons are looking forward to being with friends, the school activities, especially the sports. I love new school supplies, sharp pencils and fresh boxes of crayons, everything fresh and unwrinkled. Although as a parent, I cringe a bit at the initial cost outlay. My husband and I appreciate the routine our family settles into which we lack during the summer. I am the girl who really likes new beginnings, and August provides exactly that.

Back to my confession, the August-Me is a stark contrast to the May-Me! In May I am tired, my sons are tired, my husband is tired. I even think our dogs are tired, mostly tired of being ignored… May brings end of year exams, pencils with no erasers, and the spirals that may or may not have the cardboard cover. Everything is used up, wrinkled and it’s getting hot in Texas. Honestly, I’m over the whole business of school and “have-too's.” I can’t keep up with the notices regarding items that must be turned in, replaced, or cleaned out. I still love the teachers, but the end-of-school gifts and parties are one more thing that sends me past the point of fatigue! I have a total bad attitude and a really bad case of "don’t-want-to's!" Now you know to avoid the May-Me.

The August-Me isn’t proud of the May-Me, but the realization is part of the solution. Knowing how I will be in May, I started an August tradition for “Meet the Teacher.” Take a gift. It may be part bribery, but why not start the year off with a gesture of good will? Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16 NKJV Many teachers spend their own money for back-up supplies and things for their classroom that will help your student during the year. Your child will spend more of their waking hours at school than at home on most days, so why not help brighten their environment a bit? Consider it an investment in your child.

The search engines and crafty sites are loaded with good gift ideas that do not cost much money. Personally, I would rather buy a few extra supplies for the classroom while they are available, send them to school when I send all the others stuff, and not have to worry about it until next August. A small plant or jar of pencils with a little note of good wishes makes me feel better when the school year comes to an end. It helps me deal with the guilt when I forget to send the end-of-year teacher gifts. The one “don’t” I would offer is ... avoid the coffee mug as a gift. The average teacher gets more than enough of them from other sources. Don’t be THAT parent! To purchase an extra package of pencils, a few mason jars, string and colored paper will set you back less than a specialty coffee gift card, but the blessing to the person welcoming your student, it will be much more valuable. So…as you face sending your child off to school this year, maybe for the first time, send a little something for the teacher…perhaps an apple?

Most importantly, commit to pray for our teachers, schools and communities. Even if it is a quick prayer as you drop them off. Thank the Lord for your child's school, the custodian and kitchen workers. Many people serve at these schools, and much goes into your child's day away from you. Ask the Lord's blessings for each part.

Holy Father God, Author and Creator of our lives, please send special blessings on our teachers, our schools and the families they touch. LORD may Your Presence be abundant in each building and classroom. Knowing You are Omnipresent, there is no place that we can hide from You, even though lawmakers have tried to legislate You out. Open hearts and minds in our schools. May each teacher be encouraged, appreciated and protected. May each student feel welcomed, accepted, and encouraged for Your glory. Please comfort parents sending their babies to kindergarten and first grade. Please give them peace, and help them feel Your joy over their efforts poured into each child thus far. Thank You for Your faithfulness and the plans You have for the wonderful children You have entrusted to us. Amen.

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