A new school year has begun. New teachers, new schedules, new routines and rhythms. This is an exciting time, but it can be difficult, and not just for students. All these changes affect parents, grandparents and caregivers, who also have to adjust to the new year. This forces everyone to change, and though that’s great, it can be difficult too.
Over thousands of years, the people of God have experienced change. God freed the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, led them into the desert and then brought them to the Holy Land. That’s a lot of change!
Each change brought them joy at the new life God had given but also sadness over what they had lost. When they left Egypt, they missed having regular food and protection (Exodus 16:1-3, Numbers 14:1-4). When they left the wilderness and entered the promised land, they lost their close connection to God (Judges 2:10-12).
New things always come with loss of the old. This was true for the Israelites and it’s true for us.
New things always come with loss of the old. This was true for the Israelites and it’s true for us. So what did they do? How did they handle transitions? And how can that help us today?
The people of God handled transitions by doing two things at the same time (Jeremiah 31:31-34, Psalm 78 and Ezekiel 20:5b-38). The first thing they did was remember. They told the stories of what God had done for them, and they gave thanks. At the same time, they expressed their excitement at what was to come. They expressed both their sadness and their joy.
We, too, can both remember and anticipate. Doing so helps both adults and children transition to the new school year.
- Write down how God was with you during the last school year and what you will miss the most. There is no right or wrong answer. It could be something big, like a person or place, or something that seems minor. It could also be something experienced over many years, especially for someone changing schools.
- Write down something about the coming school year that excites you and how God can help you make the year great. Again, there are no right or wrong answers—just hopes and dreams.
- Share your answers with your family and then pray together. The sharing can lead to conversation or not. Pray for God to alleviate the sadness over what will be missed and to bless the coming school year.