You know that the summer is over when you see the yellow school buses rolling by on the roads around town. As a new school year gets underway, it provides an opportunity for our young people to enjoy a ‘new start’ in the advancement of their formal education. Although there is often excitement about getting started, there can also be some anxiousness and anxiety about the whole thing.
I will soon begin teaching once more over at St. Pius X Regional School. I look forward to this every year, but it does take some getting used to even on the teacher’s side of the desk. I have come to appreciate those who sit on the other side of my desk, i.e. the students. They have a challenging life in the classroom. Without choice, they must: do the homework given to them; read materials assigned; take tests and quizzes at appointed times; perform in the classroom by answering questions, reading out loud, engaging in group activities and more; sit, listen, and take notes from various teachers; be prepared with proper materials; sit next to someone who may not be their best friend; and get along with fellow classmates. All in all, I applaud the student that works to his/her ability and handles the tasks that are given them.
I have offered blessings to many young people heading back to college. In particular, I have had the pleasure of blessing individuals going off to college for the first time and those who will be in college but living at home. Of course there is excitement, anticipation, and anxiety. Will I get along with my roommate? Will I be able to handle the work load? Will I be able to deal with leaving home? Will I be able to get my work done while still living at home? Will I make friends? Will I survive? As parents, although I know that you are proud of your children heading off to college, it must at times be hard for you, too. You want your young adults to do well, to grow up into responsible adults, to be fully equipped to get a good job and take care of themselves and a family and at the same time remain active, participating Catholics. I can’t image the thoughts going through your head!
Our children and our young people need our continued love and support – not only when things go well, but especially when things hit a brick wall. Remember that it is not easy being a student – sitting at the desk and having to do what others tell you to do. Let’s support them with our prayers, with words of encouragement, and with sincere concern for their well being. May the Lord bless and protect each of you in the week ahead.