A New First

They woke up to find the table set with the best dishes, the girls’ tea sets, and a chocolate kiss on each plate.

When one of my sons saw the table, he asked, “Mommy! Who’s coming?”

“Nobody. This is for us.”

I’d set the table the night before–after they’d gone to bed. And so a new tradition for the first day of school was born. A fancy table with fancy food on a day I wanted to feel like a holiday.

Images come to me of those early days. A lone girl dressed in a uniform jumper and Peter Pan blouse and standing in the driveway. Then the yearly photos on the living room landing as their number increased.

They grew from one to five. Then not as many.

At last, two almost men chided each other through what they deemed a childish ritual.

Then the last one smiling–a sister came for the French toast and last picture–which she took of him and me together. My teaching career in its fourth year. His schoolboy days coming to a close.

There were other first days with exchange students. Those who made long journeys to have a first day of school here.

Now we are only two and the celebration of first days happens in other houses. But this year, my husband and I had a new first that I hope carries on.

Our city has seen the beginning of a Sunday morning prayer effort. Local pastors getting up extra early to meet and pray before greeting their Sunday morning congregations.

This year on the day before the first day of school, they met near the bronze mascot of our public high school and invited the community to join them.

It was cold for August. But about 100 people came out to pray for the administrators, teachers, and young people of our county and surrounding counties.

No fancy plates, no chocolate kisses, no French toast.

Community fellowship to lift up the young–including the young of my children. All the young of our towns and boroughs who will touch each other’s lives as they go along.

We start traditions hoping those who come after us will carry something good with them to a new time and place.

This year’s new tradition brings the best for all to carry.

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

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20 Replies to “A New First”

  1. Ah, the fancy table… what a beautiful tradition and an amazing legacy to pass on! But the first day of school prayer is an excellent and important idea. I love how more and more churches and communities are doing this. God bless you, and thank you for the reminder.

  2. I love this tradition, what beautiful memories that will warm their hearts for years to come.

  3. Nancy, this brought me to tears. I remember my own days of teaching in the public schools. I remember each new year with my own children. And I grieve at our current reality. It feels like we are a million miles from where I began. Lord have mercy. Move our hearts to pray like never before.

  4. Nancy, what a wonderful tradition for the first day of school. Traditions in childhood are what builds lasting memories. And because I knew this fact, I made sure to create a few traditions for my own kids, some surrounding holidays and some becoming a sort of holiday as you suggest.

  5. I am grateful to hear about these pray-ers at the school! This summer I have had two different opportunities to speak to teachers from our public schools and hear what is happening (one urban school and one suburban with similar behavioral problems). We must pray! I will be praying for the Lord to reveal the truth of His Word to administrators and those who decide on curriculum. Without the Lord, I fear we are going to see a mass exodus of teachers who feel unprotected.
    Thanks for giving me a more encouraging sign!

    1. Amen, Beth. Prayers went up for safety for our schools and those in surrounding counties. Thanks for reading and commenting. God bless!

  6. What a fun tradition with your family! And I am encouraged your community is spending so much time in prayer. What a beautiful example of what we all should be doing!

  7. I so love traditions like this, Nancy! The years come and go, the seasons of life change, yet the traditions tie us together in a beautiful way! Thank you for sharing.

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