Pencils, spiral notebooks, crayons, three-prong folders in the colors of the rainbow — on sale now! It’s that time of year, time for back-to-school sales, tax-free weekends, and time to get in gear for the first day of school. Are you ready? Are you excited? Are you scared?
I suppose that some homeschool moms have been ready for weeks, just waiting for the day they could tear July off their calendars and jump into another year. I loved homeschooling, but I was never one of those moms. I remember well the first year we homeschooled. Being such organized people who always plan way ahead and know exactly what they are having for dinner a week from Friday (not a chance!), we didn’t even decide we were going to homeschool that fall until sometime in August. Boy, how I scrambled to pull something together! I always thought September was a great time to start a homeschool year anyway. Let the public schools start in August or even in July; I liked the old-fashioned September tradition myself.
Many of us may have an idea of what we think a perfect first day of school would look like. It’s something we keep in our imaginations. We certainly don’t have any photographs of that day, because we just haven’t experienced it yet. In actuality, most of our first days of school have been far from perfect. Perhaps we didn’t hear the alarm or we forgot one of the supplies we needed for our craft or the science experiment didn’t work like the instructions said it would or the healthy muffin recipe we downloaded was definitely healthy but not so tasty. Perhaps Jimmy sat too close to Janie and Janie pushed him out of his chair. Maybe Jimmy forgot how to add fractions even though we spent hours and hours on that last spring. Maybe we got frustrated and let it show.
What do we do with our less than perfect days, whether they are the first day of school, a birthday, an anniversary, or our long-awaited trip to the zoo? Less than perfect days are perfect days to teach the things we didn’t plan, things like how to handle disappointment, how to laugh at ourselves, how to try again when we’ve messed something up. Isn’t every day we live a less than perfect day? Isn’t that why Jesus had to die for us? I say three cheers for less than perfect first days of school. After all, they’re the only kinds we have.
This is the day which the Lord has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24, NASB