Now that summer is nearly over–at least for those of us in the muggy Southern states–school supply lists are littered all over our local Walmarts as weary moms push carts full of notebooks and pencils and shiny new backpacks. The anticipation is high: for our kids, as they look forward to a new year with friends old and new; and for the moms, as we look forward with relief to a return to routines and normal bedtimes and an end to the summertime bickering. (It doesn’t hurt to hope, right?)
But as we dutifully check off each item on the printed list, I can’t help but wish I could place a few additional things in the cart, things that, unfortunately, can’t be found on a shelf at the department store:
A good, faithful friend. Not just a Pokemon-card-trading friend. I’m talking about a soul-friend, you know? The kind that sits with you at lunch when no one else does. Or picks you first when the teacher says, “Choose a partner!” The one who shares their last cookie with you. I wish for that kind of friend for my kids. May they BE that kind of friend, and may they HAVE that kind of friend.
A firm, but understanding teacher. I’m a teacher. I know full well that most discipline issues are more complex than what meets the eye. I wish for teachers who see beyond their students’ outward behavior to the root of the matter. Not just for my kids’ sakes, but for the sake of the entire class. I can honestly say that my children have been blessed with those teachers in the past, and they have been gifts to our lives. May I be this kind of teacher myself, and may my children be blessed with them this year.
A genuine love for learning. If I could somehow box this up and sell it, I’m sure I’d be a millionaire by now. But I wish so much for my children to develop a lifelong love for learning. It’s about more than having an inspiring teacher, although that helps. It’s about an ingrained desire to constantly know more, read more, learn more. It’s a fire lit in their hearts, carefully tended each year, teacher after teacher, book after book. May the fire burn brighter this year than ever before.
These school “supplies” are priceless, I know. There’s no clearance tag or tax-free special that will ensure they end up in our cart this year. But as I pack lunches and backpacks just a couple of weeks from now, I’ll be whispering prayers for the things money can’t buy and watching for signs that my kids had a first day of school filled with more than the crayons and notebooks we checked off their list.