Say it isn’t so. Even though the pool is still cold and the heat index over 100, the start of school is in the air. I know this because of all those back-to-school commercials that started in July. Thanks, Target.
Last August, I shared five things every Catholic family should do before school begins. We did four of the five (no dishing on which one I forgot!) and I’m looking forward to tackling the list again. This year, as we begin a new school year, I have a new set of ideas in mind and they were inspired by none other than a police officer.
Last spring, a former police officer, turned seminarian, in our Diocese spoke to my daughter’s kindergarten class as part of Vocations Week. As suspected, the kids were more impressed with his previous police badge than his soon-to-be-white-collar. He took it all in stride and made some awesome analogies between police life and faith life. It was that enthusiasm that sparked my desire to equip my children with a spiritual backpack as they enter a new school year.
Are you looking for a few ways to arm your children with the Holy Spirit? I’ve got your three-ring notebook right here.
The Catholic Student Backpack
- Saint medal. Whether you affix it on the outside or inside of the backpack (or on your child’s desk if you home school), the key is to choose a saint that has special meaning for your child. Perhaps you want to honor their namesake, a confirmation saint or just a favorite one. There are the traditional silver medals, and my personal favorite, Tiny Saints—they’re hip, durable and a sure conversation starter.
- Prayer card. If you want it to last all year, laminate it. Find a prayer that challenges your kids—always the best kind. And, when the kids start fighting on the way home from school, just yell, “Everyone get your prayer cards out and start praying!” Hey, whatever works. I found some great inexpensive printables over at Happy Saints.
- Holy water. Sprinkle some holy water on that pack. Who knows, maybe it will encourage your children to actually finish their homework or keep it semi-clean. I’ve found that when we sprinkle something with holy water my kids are slightly more likely to see said object as something to be respected. It’s worth a shot, no?
- Write down goals for the year: academic, physical, spiritual, social. Bust out the index cards and get a head start on penmanship and thinking. That card might be worth laminating, too. Encourage your kids to aim high—student council officer, daily prayer, A-B honor roll, make a new friend, no clips in the red zone—and have them jot down a few realistic goals.
- Blessing for the first day of school. Before you begin your school year, consider gathering your children together, extending your hands and bestowing a blessing on their upcoming school year. You can couple this one with number three, above. The USCCB’s book, Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers, is an awesome resource. However if you don’t have access to it, make up your own blessing!
Go make it an awesome school year. What would you add to your backpack?