Back to school time can be a difficult season filled with anxiety, tears and sleepless nights. I am, of course, talking about parents. The kids are usually fine after the first five minutes, but some of us moms and dads are absolute basket cases.
I speak from experience. Here is my record so far:
1. First day of preschool, minor basket case
2. First day of kindergarten, major basket case.
3. First day of first grade, official Longaberger representative
Here’s the problem. We had our kids at home for the first three years of their lives. The only people to watch them were family and close friends. Then came the day we had to drop them off with total strangers and just walk away. For overprotective parents like us it’s a horrible feeling of releasing control and trusting your kid into the hands of someone else.
I know what a big deal the first day of school can be for a kid. Everything’s new and overwhelming. New faces, new schedule, new room. I don’t want to get in my kids’ way, but I wish I could be there if they needed me.
Some people are great at drop offs. Some people love to ditch their kids. But not me, I am a terrible drop off dad. I like giving my kids their freedom. I just want to be there to see it. I wonder if they need another classroom assistant this year.
Okay, I may be a lousy drop off dad, but I’m not nearly as bad at it as God is. The Bible goes on and on about how He refuses to leave His kids. Yes, He gives us freedom, but He never leaves our side.
It reminds me of what God told a guy named Joshua when he had a big first day of school moment. Moses had been the leader of God’s people and was kind of a big deal. But now that it was time to head in to the promised land and face their enemies, Moses was dead and Joshua had to take over. I bet he was totally freaking out. But God told him, “Be strong and courageous. Don’t be terrified. Don’t be discouraged. I’m going to be with you wherever you go.”
In a human parent this would be awkward and embarrassing. In a divine Dad, it’s absolutely incredible. We may not have to face the first day of school any more, but there are plenty of overwhelming situations where we need someone bigger than us and smarter than us to walk us through it every step of the way.
So whatever big firsts you’re facing today, remember that you never have to deal with them alone. God’s closer than a classroom assistant and wiser than the greatest teacher. Better than that, He’s a Dad who just can’t get enough of helping His children.
Maybe I’ll remember that next year on the first day of school, that I’m not the only one who’s lousy at walking away from his kids.