Colleen Duggan

A Parent's Prayer: Back to School Edition

In just two short weeks, summer vacation will be over. My six school aged children—and me—are staring down the beginning of the new academic year. As I’ve been purchasing uniforms and school supplies and assessing the condition of backpacks and already been used binders in order to determine if I can salvage a few for one more year, I find myself also taking inventory of the upcoming year. 

Have I taught my six children what they need to know in order to be good, productive school citizens?

What kind of friends will they make?

Are my children committed to doing what’s morally right instead of what’s most convenient, easiest, and comfortable?

Have we selected the best education for them within our means?

If I’m not careful, I can spend entire days spinning my worry wheels about my children and the educational decisions we’ve made for them, ruminating over so many things outside of my control. To combat the personal tendency to wring my hands over my children’s future, I decided to pen a prayer and give my concerns to Jesus.

He does a much better job running the world than my silent hand wringing does anyway. 

I offer the prayer for your own use as well. May it bring us peace during the upcoming school year and bountiful blessings for all of our children, no matter their age. 

(Print this prayer here.)

Heavenly Father,

You love my children more than I do, which is hard for me to grasp because my love for them could not only plunge the depths of the Atlantic Ocean but cover the vast Milky Way as well. As such, I come to You was a parent who desires only good things for her children, especially as they begin the new school year. Protect my children as they leave me at the start of each new day and venture into the world around them. Fortify their minds with truth, goodness and beauty. Teach them to think critically and to work for justice in the microcosms in which they exist, practicing for adulthood what it means to be a warrior for others. Help them to be beacons of light amongst their teachers and peers, embodied promises of your hope and goodness. Give them virtuous friends who lead them to You and not away.

Give me confidence in the educational decisions I’ve made for them and help me to trust You to fill in the gaps where their learning fails. Lord, take away their rough edges, smooth them through the trials they experience over the next nine months. Strengthen my belief that the challenges my children encounter are opportunities to grow in character and in faith in You, not situations dooming them to failure and ostracization. 

Give me what I need to guide my children to You. Help me to teach them what is most praiseworthy in life is not degrees from elite institutions, lucrative jobs, and material possessions in abundance but an ability to do your will, to serve, and to praise you always. Let my life model for my children this truth: that the most fulfilling career in life is one given away in service to others. Help me to communicate to them the value of being human and the importance of cultivating leisure and satisfying relationships. 

Remove my fear about the world and its potential to destroy my children. You’ve given these souls a Guardian Angel to accompany them through life. I implore You and these Guardian Angels now to always be true to the promise to light, to guide, to rule, and to guide through the dangerous valleys where my children might walk. 

I worry, Lord, about my children and their future. I worry about their formation, their education, their safety, about their character, about my parenting and the ways I fail them, Lord.  I give these worries to You and I ask You to give me confidence in Your promise that if I teach my children the ways that they will go, they will not depart from it.

I entrust my children to you: their safety, their minds, their educational experiences, their bodies, everything they are and all they have. I give these children to You, Lord, who are all good and who desire only my children’s good. 

Thank you, Jesus, for being a perfect parent to me, for satisfying all my needs. It is impossible to deny your care for me since my birth and I trust you have and will continue to offer a similar care in my children’s lives. I love you, Jesus. I trust you. I hope in you and I glorify you now and forever.

Amen.

Print this prayer here.

Colleen Duggan is an author, Catholic wife, mom of six, and speaker. She writes about Catholic family life here and her articles have also appeared on Catholic Exchange, CatholicMom.com, and Aleteia. Her new book Good Enough is Good Enough can be found on Amazon and wherever books are sold.