Tomorrow is the first day of school. This morning was the blessing of the backpacks. This is not a United Methodist ritual, but has become a loved tradition at Beebe First UMC over the past several years.
The steps in the chancel area were covered with backpacks, lunch kits, teachers’ bags, briefcases, and even keys belonging to those in the congregation involved in education.
Our pastor prayed individually for each child, that s/he would be safe, would not be afraid, be ready to learn, and maybe be a friend to someone who needs one.
Why would he pray that we should return to school unafraid?
Active Shooter Training is a part of most school-staff inservices this year. In the classroom, children are taught what to do if they hear gunfire in the hall or the “lock down” words come over the intercom.
Larger schools may have scanners where visitors swipe their driver’s license to gain admittance. Registered offenders may not enter.
How do we feel safe and unafraid? Well, that’s what the drills are for. When the fire bell rang, children knew to walk in a straight line to the designated place on the playground. That was the practice in the Forties (and still today perhaps).
During the Cold War years, when the A-Bomb alarm went off, children hid under their desks. Until someone figured out the desk was not really much protection against an Atomic Bomb.
Many southern states have tornado drills, safe rooms, definite plans for protection against storms.
All these drills urge us to think about “what would we do if . . .?” so we’re more able to make the best choice in an emergency.
School starts tomorrow.
Pray for the kids, teachers, secretaries, custodians, bus drivers, cafeteria staff, nurses, and parapros, and anyone else I may have accidentally left out. Pray they will be patient, loving, and brave in the face of their tremendous responsibility and challenge to mold young lives.