When I was a child, one of the last summer events we experienced as a family before school started was to visit the fair in a neighboring town. Always held the first week of August, we would wear one of our new school outfits, pile into the family car and make the drive to the fair. Every year it was the same ... walk through the livestock barns filled with 4-H project animals followed by a couple of other buildings that displayed a variety of other 4-H projects before finally making our way to the carnival midway. The lights, sounds, smells, and sights of the fair never seemed to last enough before it was time to head back home. Time to head back to school. Another school year, another box of crayons.
Years later, we introduced our own children to the fair while visiting family ... same place, same routine. But this time as we strolled through the livestock barns, I noticed something new. I noticed the look of protection, fear, nervousness, and caution in the eyes of other mothers as they sheltered their children in the confines of a new environment. The only difference was these mothers weighed over 1000 pounds and mooed. I was so drawn by these mother cows as they sheltered their calves from the fair onlookers and will never forget the look in their eyes. And I understood. This was the same look all mothers have when approaching new school years and new environments, when sending their offspring into a brand new world. A world without us by their sides. Fear, nervousness, apprehension ... all familiar emotions that parents have experienced at some point in the lives of their children.
While we cannot always be with our children, we know God is. So we pray for God's protection, guidance, and wisdom for our children as we send them off to a new environment. And we pray for guidance, protection, and wisdom for the teachers who will be investing so much more than education into the lives of our children. And lastly, we pray for God's strength and comfort for us!
So God, please protect our children. Please watch over them. Keep them safe. Please let them know that they are loved and they are never alone. Surround them with positive, kind people and help them to be positive and kind to others. And 'til the cows come home ... and our children ... bring them safely back to us.