As I send my first baby off to school, I pray that you watch over her every step of the way. As she walks through the unfamiliar halls, please help her find her way — both in the direction of her classroom as well as the path to follow through life. Please stand beside her as she enters a world of firsts and overcomes fears.
I pray that you open her mind to accept the knowledge that will be set in front of her so that she continues to grow in her education daily. While doing so, I also pray that you open her mind to the differences in people. Please help her to see that shorter, taller, thicker, thinner, darker, lighter, faster, slower, smarter or not does not really make the person. Please direct her mind to see the importance of the inner being — the true beauty — of those around her.
In a room full of kids, there will be times when her peers are not kind. Please help her to rise above and not reciprocate — even more so, help her not to initiate it. Please remind her of her worth and the worth of others and just how valuable she is both to me and to You.
When she cannot get her fruit snacks open, please help her not to get frustrated immediately but rather stay calm, try again, or ask politely for help. If she doesn’t get what they are learning right away, please give her the perseverance to continue on. Please supply her with determination to never give up and the pride of learning something new.
Please place your heavenly bubble around my baby as she travels to and from school daily. Please guide the path of the bus driver and other drivers on the road and just keep her safe.
Oh, and please Lord, be with her teacher. Please grant her the patience and strength she needs to guide these babies on their first real adventure. When times get chaotic, please gently remind her that these babies are not just another class of students in her career but rather someone’s baby.
Please don’t let her forget that at the child in front of her was once a part of me. I cried when I found out about her, when she arrived, when I sat in the bathroom with the shower running on high heat to clear her stuffy nose, when she got her first shots and her Kindergarten shots — and every shot in between. I was overjoyed when she first smiled at me, cut her first tooth, said her first word and took her first step. Please remind this teacher that this child is so entirely loved and also a child of you, God.
And please make sure that this teacher feels the fulfillment that she deserves. You put a calling on her heart and she is following through in obedience. Please provide her with the strictness of discipline yet the softness of understanding. And as I watch her mold my baby into a more knowledgeable little kid, please make sure I support her so that she can feel my true appreciation.
As we send off our first, our last, or our any baby in between, please put Your hand on us parents, God. Grant us peace in the fact that our babies are right where they belong. Please give us the satisfaction of knowing that we prepared them enough and spare us the guilt of what we could have done differently.
God, remind me that my baby is not mine to keep but rather Your child that I have the luxury of loving, teaching, preparing and nurturing until I set her free.
And most importantly, God, please help my baby to be like You. Please encourage her to be kind to all and talk to the kid sitting alone. Please whisper in her ear when she is tempted to disobey. Please help her to offer forgiveness if she is wronged and soften her heart to deliver a sincere apology when she slips up. Please show her that school is not only about learning the curriculum — but also about the daily challenges and experiences that will shape her into a person that this world needs.
And it’s a big world, Lord. Unfortunately, it is much scarier than it once was. My biggest prayer is that You keep those who don’t know You incapable of coming in and taking the life of my most precious gift. But I know that You got her, God. I trust You.
And no matter how hard this next step is for me, I know that You got me too, God. Thank you for this opportunity to watch my baby soar.
In Your most precious name, I pray. Amen.
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.