by Terri McDowell Ott (Presbyterian Outlook)
God, bless these children, and the parents who make them pose
for pictures before the first day of school. Bless all our children,
climbing on school buses,
backpacks heavy with hope,
anxious for acceptance,
needy for nurturing.
Bless our children, who aren’t as innocent as we’d like;
our children for whom active shooter drills are routine and
thoughts and prayers aren’t enough.
God, bless our parents, who have
laughed, played, traveled, mediated, intervened, fed and nurtured
all … summer … long
parents who are ready
and not-so ready
for summer days to end and school to resume.
Bless our parents who
pack backpacks, make lunches, create schedules and to-do lists
for toddlers and teenagers difficult to get out the morning door.
Bless them with patience –
grace for themselves and their children.
Bless them with long memories of
that pass too quickly
when not noticed.
God, bless our teachers, school administrators and support staff –
those to whom we entrust our children all year long.
Bless them with appreciation for their invaluable work.
Bless them with needed supplies they don’t have to pay for out of pocket.
Bless them with new year excitement, toothy grins, and students who love to learn.
Bless them with the kind of joy that comes when you know you are meeting society’s needs through your chosen profession.
Gather us, O God, around our children, parents, teachers and school staff as this new school year begins. Anoint us with your grace, fill us with your love, inspire us for your service. Bless us as a community, guided by your Spirit, called to care for and nurture the young, for the sake of their future, and ours. Amen.