I can't believe I last posted here on the 5th of August.
Since then, I have finished the holiday club, hosted a packed out parents BBQ, enjoyed the celebratory and age old custom of The Holiday Club Service, complete with stuff and nonsense, helped in no small fashion over the week by this man and this man and countless others, been on holiday here for two days, then flew here (and back 24 hours later) to catch this man in concert.
It was truly awesome :::::sigh:::::: Highlights were the crowd of thousands singing his version of Amazing Grace unaccompanied and the standout "Indescribable". Plus meeting up with good friends for a wee drinkie and late night pizza and a most eventful trip with an exceedingly crazy taxi driver.
Then later that same day I took my son to school for the very first time. (Child no 1 sailed in an hour earlier without a backward glance, giving and receiving hugs from her friends!) I had a wee tear in my eye; he gripped my hand very tightly as we entered the classroom but settled with no bother at all as I left him with the other children and his new teacher.
Starting school is indeed a rite of passage. Not just for parents and carers who feel a little emotional but for me as a Christian it represents a "handing over" of a lot of influence on my child to other people. In some ways age 5 seems a very young age to do that but we must remember that we still have masses of time to input into our child; to impart our vision and values.
Our children begin more and more to make their own choices. Will I eat my sandwich or bin it? Will I play with him or her? Will I do what the teacher says or question it? This is an important time and I urge those with children at school to continue to pray for your child regularly; to do this with authority and urgency, not living in fear of the "what ifs" but to pray for their safekeeping and most importantly for the development of character and calling. I want my children to be strong and secure in who they are, not apologetic about their faith, but radical, different, eyes open for the unloved or unfortunate, tuned in to sense need, resistant to apathy and consumerism. And take heart dear friend! - it is possible - I already see a remarakable lack of "wanting" certain toys/items with my daughter. I know this may change, but I have tried to set in place the values which I want her to have - which I PRAY with faith that she will have.
I have heard of those who become very anxious about sending their child to what they may call the "enemy environment and oppression" of school - errrr, welcome to the world! We were never promised it would be easy. I'm a bit blase about this as I have obviously been on the inside of school and am in a position to celebrate the goodness in schools - strong friendships are built there, esteem is raised, a sense of teamwork is fostered....just for starters. WE HAVE THE MOST INFLUENCE though - this must always be remembered. What goes on at home is far, far more important than anything else. And this is scientifically proven - as teachers we have long since known this anecdotally but there is now a wealth of academic research on the web to back this up.
See, for example - http://www.specialistschools.org.uk/article.aspa?PageId=1320
or this from the Literacy Trust -
What are your views on Christian schools? Or homeschooling?