by Brock Benson
This morning marked our first morning of the fall semester for one of Revive Church’s biggest ministries to the Nolensville Community – Parents Day Out. Revive Parents Day Out, which formerly operated under the title of Stepping Stones, was started more than 20 years ago with one of our founding members, Toni Crosby, as the first ever Director. Since its inception this ministry has been a part of many families’ lives in the town of Nolensville and surrounding communities. It’s always special for me to be a part of this ministry in the background and hear different conversations happening between our teachers and parents checking in after the summer of activities has passed and the formal grind of fall now works itself out.
Garner, Cassie and I’s second boy, attends Mrs. Laura’s class in PDO. And since he is used to the “routine” of going to work with Dad dropping him off was a breeze this morning. No issues, stress or tears. (Believe me it’s not always this easy…) I was thankful to see him adjust so well and am grateful I can spend more time with him even though he is in a different room while I’m in the office.
After I got Garner dropped off at class I proceeded to man the front door for our parents as they arrived into the building. Helping at the door is not something I do every day but the first day is always a good time to see the new faces to the program as they respond with mixed emotions of smiles, frowns, anxiety and everything in-between. I hadn’t planned on helping with the door this morning until it dawned on me that there’d be a lot of parents showing up with supplies who were also trying to corral youngster. It’s a recipe for disaster if you’re trying to get multiple kids into a building with an armful of supplies!! So getting the door was a small way I could serve and I am so glad I did because what happened next was deeply meaningful to me.
About halfway through drop off time I opened the door for two particular moms that caught my attention. As they exited and made their way back to the cars I noticed both of them had tears in their eyes. I don’t mean like “I got something in my contacts” tears. I mean real crying tears. In the most pastoral tone I could muster I told them both they’d be alright and we’d take good care of their precious little ones. These young moms had dropped their babies off I presume for the first time ever at an organized program like ours and were feeling the emotional weight and it overwhelmed them. It makes even more sense to me now why Parent Teacher Organizations put on their boo-hoo breakfasts for all the Kindergarten parents each year. We need each other to help cope.
The emotion both of these mom’s felt today was something I first experienced two years ago when Kandler, my oldest son, entered the halls of elementary school for the first time as a kindergartener. No longer was he at home with Cassie or at Revive Parents Day Out with me, but he would now begin being shaped by others who I didn’t really know. Every parent probably has a similar story they could share when they were forced to recognize God’s sovereignty in a real way and this was mine. Kandler was, is, and will forever be God’s. Not mine. I must trust Jesus to shape him through his experience at school just as I must do everywhere else God will lead him in his life. NOT EASY!
On the other end of the spectrum the first day of Parents Day Out for others was like a long lost holiday that finally had arrived and been declared! Eager to have some personal time and get their affairs back in order, there were a handful of parents who instead of tears were grinning ear to ear. I guess the contrast comes in especially if you’ve never put a kid in school before. But to see it so clearly today really made me stop and think. Am I sad for another semester or happy? But more importantly why? What’s the reason behind my reason? If I am sad is it because I am struggling to rest in God’s plan and protection for my child? If I am happy is it because I see my kids as a burden at times to my own personal agenda? The answer to all of these is sometimes yes and sometimes no.
Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3:1 says “For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven:” Right now many families are in the Back to School season and schedules are getting adjusted and plans are being formulated as we set in for the long haul before Thanksgiving break. With each shifting season of life it’s a great opportunity to look inside and ask questions about our hearts. What’s even more vital is to rest in the answer. Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is our living hope who knows we can’t handle the emotional toll of life and the decisions we all have to make for those we love most dearly. But He also intercedes with groaning for us in the middle of each of these moments. Whatever emotional climate your heart may be in during this season, gaze on the author of the story. I promise you the story He is writing is worth it.