Backpacks, pencils, notebooks, erasers, and more! Yes— it is hard to believe, but it’s that time of year again.  Teachers and students will be heading back into their classrooms soon. After ’20 – ’21, many may approach this school year with anxiety. But this is truly a great opportunity to start the school year with the virtue of gratitude by meditating upon the insightful words of Pope St. John Paul II as our guide, “The human body includes right from the beginning the capacity of expressing love, that love in which the person becomes a gift — and by means of this gift — fulfills the meaning of his being and existence.”

Helpful Tips For Teachers

Each school year is a chance at a fresh start! Begin this year by really seeing each student in your class as a gift.  Not only does each personality bring a unique perspective to your class, but each child has strengths and talents that are gifts to be shared. We also can look at each day we are physically together in the classroom (and not virtually) with appreciation that we are, in fact, together. We are made for communion. After all, we are made in the image of a communion of persons, the Holy Trinity. Why not re-evaluate the posters and images you have on your classroom walls? Display posters in the classroom of important truths like, “You are created in God’s image and likeness.”, “You are a part of God’s mission.” “How can you serve God by giving a gift of yourself today?” Not only will the students start integrating these important truths, but they will also serve as reminders for you!

Helpful Tips For Parents

Encourage your children to look for ways each day to give a gift of themselves. Befriending a new student, letting someone else go to the front of line, and patiently waiting their turn are some ideas. Not only does this help them to grow in virtue, but by doing these small works of charity we build our Catholic community. Take time to offer a prayer for your child, their teachers, classmates, and school. Daily prayers lift our thoughts upwards in times of need, struggle, and worry. God recognizes this difficulty parents may have entrusting their children to someone else’s care for a time each day. He is there to support and sustain you if you open yourself up to receiving his offered graces by asking for them. When your child returns home, ask specific, open-ended questions about their day: “What made you laugh today?” “Did you learn anything new about a classmate?” “What was a ‘high’ and or/ ‘low’ point of your day?”

As the time approaches so quickly for yet another new school year, let us prepare, maintain, and persevere with patience, gratitude, and prayer.

Dear Lord, watch over our returning students, teachers, and staff. Please protect them as they are in school, and comfort and guide them in all of their decisions to thrive in your love. Help them to give a gift of themselves, keep them safe from all harm, and strengthen their faith in this new school year. AMEN”.