We school our kids at home, but our kids also attend co-op twice a week, so I get to enjoy a taste of the “get everybody out the door at the same time” madness.
In the morning rush, I cover my kids in essential oils, kisses, and questions about their lunches (Did you pack something to eat? Does it resemble a vegetable, fruit, or mineral?). We chase down missing shoes, missing homework, and the occasional missing tooth for show-and-tell. But once we’re all loaded up and our massive van is winging its way down the road, I make sure my kids don’t leave the car until I’ve covered them in prayer.
I keep my eyes on the road, one hand on the wheel, and the other hand is stretched out as if I could touch each child on the head. And then I proceed to yell (our van is really big) nearly the same prayer over them each day:
1. SEE: I pray that they would see God––His goodness, truth, and beauty in the subjects and stories they study and that they would glorify Him.
As a homeschool mom who has been beat down by fifth grade math, I want my kids to see the wonder in long division. I want them to appreciate that God paid attention to the nth degree of a decimal point and made it orderly, even when we struggle to understand how or why. I pray that they marvel at His creativity in the universe, that they see His mighty hand written across history, that they even appreciate the way we use grammar and words to communicate everything from what we want for dinner to the truth of the gospel.
At the end of their education (and, really, are we ever finished being educated?) I want them to be absolutely sure of the Creator. I want them to be convinced that His work is good, that there is Truth in an uncertain world, and that there is beauty in fractions, diagramming sentences, and chemistry explosions.
They may not fully appreciate it now, but if God will grant them a sense of wonder, then they will be lifelong learners who will keep seeking Him and all the goodness, truth and beauty He has to offer.
2. KNOW: I pray that they would know the “most right thing” to do in a moment, and that they would choose it.
In some cases, a child might face a difficult choice in a classroom––to include the kid nobody talks to, to laugh at that questionable joke, or to lean a little to the left to see a neighbor’s paper. I pray that, in those moments, they choose The Most Right Thing.
Not all choices will be crystal clear, especially as they get older. From cheating to respecting a teacher, I cannot make those choices for them. But I can beg God from my knees to help them know the right thing to do and to give them the strength to choose it. And, I hope, that when it comes down to it, relationships and people, not grades, win the day.
3. LEAN: I pray that the people, the lessons, and the struggles they face this year would drive them to lean on Christ and to see Him as their source of strength, comfort, and wisdom.
I’d like to wrap my little people up in bubble wrap, strap a helmet on them, and scurry along behind, making sure nobody laughs at them, leaves them out, or gives them rotavirus. I have my own baggage from my own growing up years and I dread the moment when my children receive similar wounds. It’s not easy to learn those basic life lessons that prepare you for adulthood. My prayer, then, is that when they feel alone, left out, not smart enough, not cool enough, or so frustrated that they feel they might drown––I pray that they cry out to Jesus. I want them to learn that He is their rescuer, not their Mama swooping in on a cloud of Germ-X.
I want to be their safe place to land at the end of the day, absolutely, but I will fail them. I will miss somebody’s down-trodden heart or rotten day. Or maybe I’m the teacher they just can’t stand on occasion. But if they can talk to Jesus about it, and hear His voice, His peace, and His comfort, then I know that if they don’t remember Algebra or that guy who picked on them in science, they will remember “from whence their help cometh.” And that’s the most important lesson they can ever learn.
(Hint: If you’re into it, these three prayers make a loose acrostic: SKL. Depending on your accent, it can mean “school” or “skill.’ Both are appropriate and maybe it will help you remember what to pray in the morning scurry.)
Lora Lynn Fanning is a wife, a mother of seven, and a member of The Church at Brook Hills, where her husband, Andrew, serves as an elder. She home-schools the children and in her “free time” blogs at Vitafamilae.