At this time most parents and school-aged children have a good sense whether the current school year is going to be mediocre for them or not. For some, it looks like it will be an exciting, creative and growth-filled year. For some, a sense of dread has already set in. I suspect for most, the daily routine of getting out to school, coming home and dealing with homework is going to be mediocre. The “what did you do in school today?” question will be met with the typical “nothing” answer, despite the teacher’s best efforts to excite the children over the collision of tectonic plates or the spelling of the word “weird.” (See? It isn’t always “i” before “e” —isn’t that weird?).
If a school year is anything like my laptop, it’s going to need a rebooting from time to time. For a time, I never need to shut my computer down—I dutifully put it to sleep now and then—and it works fine. There’s nothing exciting unless I’m installing new software, and that has all the similar anxiety and wonder of having a new teacher and new classmates. But for the most part it does what it does and I settle into an uneventful routine.
But then there comes the day when I need to reboot. Things are not working well. It’s slowing down. I’m feeling frustrated. So I close out all the applications and restart. Voila! Things are better again.
I use this metaphor for the school year because the kids of today might identify with this more than their grandparents who are reading this article. So when they confide in you that the new school year has lost its luster or that things are not going as well as they would like, you can ask them to imagine that they are rebooting. What would it be like if Oct. 7, was really the first day of school and the preceding month was just a practice? What new attitude or behavior adjustment could they start this new month with, knowing what they learned about their schedule, their teachers and their classmates in the first month? Can they get excited about a new start?
This kind of rebooting is something that I actually do each morning when I pray. Today isn’t yesterday, and the hours I’m facing are ripe with new possibilities for a different day. Perhaps it will be gentler, or more stimulating, or more confusing, or more peaceful. I won’t know until I live through it and I try not to let my suspicions of what might or might not happen cloud my attitude as I step into the day.
This is where faith comes in. While I don’t know what the day will bring, I believe that God does and that God will accompany me throughout whatever happens. I get such a sense of peace and confidence knowing this. I share this, beloved reader, because this is something that might bring you serenity, courage and optimism each day in your life.
This kind of prayer is something that can help our children reboot too. If parents haven’t taken the opportunity to pray with their child or teach him or her how to pray, it’s not too late. This might be a good time for a spiritual rebooting. One way to suggest this is to perhaps read this article together and discuss how you might do this in your family. And I like to think that families can get a spiritual boost by committing to a weekly participation in their church community where they catch faith from others. This might be the time to reboot.