A back-to-school letter to my kids

Fall 2009 004 (2)

Copyright 2015 Heather Renshaw. All rights reserved.

Tomorrow resumes the long-anticipated schedule of early wake-ups, drowsy bowls of cereal, fighting for bathroom space, packing up lunches, tracking down shoes that were-just-here-a-minute-ago, piling into the van, and racing (er, driving ever-so-safely) down country roads to our parish school. As I prepare to send my children to learn and grow under the capable and loving direction of others, here is what I want them to remember …

Dear One,

Be kind  – to your teacher, your classmates, and the man who empties the garbage cans. The people at your school are like your family, only there’s more of them. Just like at home, people will do things you don’t like, or differently than you would do them. No matter what, though, it is always good to be loving with your words and actions. Remember that you can’t control what others say or do, but you can control your response to them. Think about how you would like to be treated, and go from there.

Pay extra attention to those in need of special kindness or help, especially the new kid or the loner. Remember when you were new in class last year, and how hard it was, not knowing if – or where – you fit in? The kid sitting by himself in the lunchroom is just waiting for someone to smile and say, “hello” and eat sandwiches and hang out at recess. Be the friend you would want to have.

Be kind to your teachers! How would you like to be treated if you were in charge? It isn’t always easy, you know. Be on the lookout for little ways to make your teacher’s life a bit easier. Small acts of thoughtfulness can go a long way.

This one may be harder, but do your best to be kind to the one kid who drives you nuts – you know who she is: the one who’s a little too bossy, a little too loud, or a little too messy with the project materials. God loves her, too! And maybe she just needs your prayers. You never know the kind of tough things she experienced this summer. She might really be hurting. So … be kind.

Work hard. Give your very best effort to your studies every day. It’s okay to take breaks – that’s what snack time, recess, and your lunch break is for – but you go to school primarily to grow, learn, and develop the wonderful mind and heart God gave you. Don’t waste this precious time by always being silly, or complaining, or wondering what’s happening this weekend. Ask your Guardian Angel to help you focus on the task at hand. You will be glad that you did come quiz, test, and report-card time!

Don’t forget to pray. I know school isn’t always easy. There can be tough math concepts, misunderstandings with classmates, reading deadlines, and let’s not even talk about H-O-M-E-W-O-R-K. Remember that you have a whole cloud of witnesses – the saints and angels (especially your namesakes and patrons) – cheering you on and rooting for you. Pray, my child. Pray for help. Pray for guidance. Pray for strength. And know that your Dad and I are praying for you every day, too.

There are so many other things I’d like to remind you to do, my lovely child – lead by example, use your best manners, don’t blurt out, listen, don’t climb on the furniture, take turns, chew with your mouth closed, share … but I’ll leave you with this final thought:

Be not afraid. There is nothing God won’t lead you to that He won’t help to see you through. Your Dad and I are proud of you, kiddo. We know you can do it. And when you need help, we’re here, ever as always, to lend a helping hand and a chocolate chip cookie or two for good measure.

With all my love,


Copyright 2015 Heather Renshaw.
Photo copyright 2015 Heather Renshaw. All rights reserved.


About Author

Heather Anderson Renshaw is a wife, Mama (x5) and on-fire Catholic revert. She’s a writer (Real Catholic MomAll Things Girl: Truth For Teens, Blessed is She), radio producer/co-host (The Visitation Project), speaker/event organizer (Catholic Women RejoiceCalled to Love, retreats), nap-craver, coffee drinker, and laundry avoider. Heather prays all may experience the healing power of Divine Mercy so they can rejoice and be free.

1 Comment

  1. Heather,
    I love the advice you’ve given your kids on their first day of school. My favorite point is to not forget to pray. One of my favorite aspects of your blog is the Catholic viewpoint you give. I bet it’s just as hard to go to school as it is for us moms to watch them leave. I hope they have a great school year!

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