After 3 months of having the children at home 24/7, vacationing, traveling, getting together with extended family, and all of the other things that come along with summer, most parents are feeling like this at back-to-school time...
Last school year, I was in a relentless battle for my 11 year old child with a smorgasbord of diagnoses. I had foolishly allowed her to be dropped down to a 504 plan, against my better judgment, at a time where she was transitioning from our grade school to the intermediate school. I seemed to be in a constant mess of getting calls from the vice principal for altercations, non-adherence by the school to the accommodations she did have in her 504, and fighting the duration of the year to get her put back on an IEP. In addition, my peanut needed minor surgeries for tonsils, adenoids and cauterization of her nose after suffering 4 bouts of tonsillitis in 4 months over the winter months. By the end of the school year, this poor girl of mine was literally sobbing and wishing to be dead.
For the duration of the summer months, she only heard from school "friends" twice. There were no invitations. No play dates took place with the exception of the 1 we set up for her. During the holiday weekend, when her brother and sister were enjoying one last friend sleeping over before the summer ended, she cried, lamenting her lack of peer relationships. It broke my heart.
Given all of this, I suppose my dark feelings should not have surprised me. Nevertheless, they did. The thought of a repeat performance of last year nearly made me ill. Trusting God, I pushed through the emotion and sought to do the next right thing.
What I was inspired to do was an unusual Pinterest moment. Having the rare financial ability to do so, the Lord led me to make an investment in this new school year that I had never made before. I began with kindness rather than contention. I poured into relationship rather than wrangling with my daughter's teachers and administrators. I crafted a gift for each of them, wishing them a good start to the new school year.
Here's how I constructed these simple gifts:
- I bought each of them a pair of socks bearing the logo and colors of our state's favorite sports team, the Green Bay Packers. (Everyone knows the G really stands for "God's Team".)
- I also bought each a $10 gift card to the nearby coffee shop and tucked it in the top of the socks.
- I wrapped the socks in a clear birthday treat bag and labelled each, "Dear Mr./Mrs. _______ , Hope your school year gets off on the right foot! With love from The Dittrichs".
It may seem to be the last thing we want to do when we are anxious and worn, but that godly, lavish kindness is always worth the extra effort.
PRAY: Spirit of the Living God, when I am anxious and nervous about dealing with school staff, remind me to treat each of them with the abundance of kindness that I would want to receive from them. Continue to tap on my shoulder with creative ideas on how I can invest in each of them personally to encourage them in our teamwork. Jesus, make this a great school year. We need it!