Wednesday, August 28, 2013


It's the beginning of the year. This is my 16th year of teaching, and my second year teaching in higher education. From preschool to the present, I've had 33 first days of school. You'd think that the idea of a "new year" wouldn't still bring on anxious feelings, but it does.

I love the rhythm of the school year.


Lather, rinse, repeat.

This year, for the first time, I haven't had the nightmares. Usually I have a nightmare a day or two before school starts: I have THE CLASS FROM HELL, the kids scream at me when I try to talk to them, I've forgotten to plan lessons for one class, all of my science lab materials have mysteriously get the idea. If dreams are a window into the subconscious mind, my subconscious mind must be a pretty fearful place, because it dreams up all kinds of scenarios that are very, very unlikely to actually come to life. (Of course, now that I've said it, I'll probably have the nightmare a few days late...)

The thing is, beginnings--for all their joy and wonder--can be stressful.

I teach a lot of freshmen in my Introduction to Education class. I identify with them; they are excited about the newness, but I can see the anxiety in their eyes too. Some are more bold and actually ask the questions they have. Others are more timid and look grateful when others ask the questions instead of them. But I try to reassure them all; they can do this! Hang in there through these first few days.

This year I'm also starting as a student again: I've begun a doctoral program. I'm feeling the same kind of anxiety as some of my freshmen: fear of the unknown. Like them, I'm excited...but nervous.

We've all had those times, right?

First day of Kindergarten.

First day of middle school.

First day of high school.

First day of college.

First day of a new job.

For some of us, every first day of every grade level is a little nerve-wracking.

Beginnings can be stressful!

But in the midst of it, there are tremendous blessings as well.

I am grateful for the opportunities to meet up with new students, to play a role in reassuring them that it's all going to be okay. Because it is going to be okay.

I love Isaiah 40:10 as a fantastic reminder:

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Think on that...we are in His grip! Why be afraid?

So, here's to beginnings! May your new beginnings be blessed experiences!

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