Prayers for the New School Year

As all parents of young children know, the end of August means that the school year is beginning. It may be hard to send your children off for the day, of it may be difficult for a young child to skip off to the bus for another day away from home. But several professionals can give comfort to parents by providing prayers for parents, teachers, and children as the school year starts.

Writer Whitney Hetzel, whose work appears in Good Catholic and elsewhere, wrote an intriguing column in the Catholic Company’s magazine titled Prayers for Your Children As They Begin A New School Year.

Prayer For A New School Year

 “God of wisdom and might, we praise you for the wonder of our being, for mind, body, and spirit. Be with our children as they begin a new school year. Bless them and their teachers and staff. Give them the strength and grace as their bodies grow; wisdom and knowledge to their minds as they search for understanding; and peace and zeal to their hearts. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Prayer For Students

It is a beautiful and charitable thing to pray for all students. Pray for your children, and for other people’s children. Here is a wonderful prayer for students.

“Lord, Our God, in your wisdom and love you surround us with the mysteries of the universe. Send your spirit upon these students and fill them with your wisdom and blessings. Grant that they may devote themselves to their studies and draw ever closer to You, the source of all knowledge. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

A Prayer For Teachers

Teachers have a great responsibility, and they need our prayers, too. Remember to pray for those who instruct your children! If you are a homeschooling mom, you can pray this prayer for yourself and for the other homeschooling moms that you know.

 “Lord God, your spirit of wisdom fills the earth and teaches us in your ways. Look upon these teachers. Let them strive to share their knowledge with gentle patience and endeavor always to bring the truth to eager minds. Grant that we may follow Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, forever and ever.”

From another approach come the words of Fr. Jeff Johnson, S.J. President of Strake Jesuit College Preparatory in Houston, Texas:

1. Continue or restart whatever your family does for its spiritual growth: weekly mass attendance, prayers at the dinner table, etc. Sometimes during the summer we can let these habits wane a bit. 

2.  With regards to school, teenage students should be assuming increased ownership of their successes and their failures. For example, if a parent is still waking up a 10th grader in the morning, it is time to transfer ownership of that task to the child. If the child fails in this task there will be natural consequences: late to school or even absent from school. But the consequences for not waking up on time are milder when someone is 15 or 16 years old as opposed to 25 or 30 years old. If you are 30 and can’t wake up on time, there will be some serious consequences. At some point, each child must learn how to wake up on time, and waiting till they go off to college is probably too late. There are many other tasks and duties that teenagers should have ownership for—doing their homework, studying for tests, managing their schedule. 

3. Here’s another little trick. Parents should stop saying please and thank you to their teenagers for things that they should rightfully be doing. In other words, don’t say, “Please do you homework” or “Please clean your room.” Instead try working out an agreed upon consequence for not cleaning his or her room, and if the room in not cleaned, then the consequence is imposed. The parent and the teenager could agree ahead of time that his room must be cleaned by Monday morning of each week. If not, then he goes without a phone for a day or two days. Settling on the agreed consequence when tempers aren’t flaring is helpful. 

Image by Gary Paul Lewis on Shutterstock.

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A convert to Catholicism, Alexandra Greeley is a food writer, restaurant critic, and cookbook author, who is passionate about every aspect of the food world — from interviewing chefs to supporting local farmers and to making the connection between food and faith. Her latest work is Cooking with the Saints.

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