The 4th Annual Backpack Blessing took place in a Georgia church at the start of this school year. The event involves taking your backpack into church, suggesting that God’s presence moves into all spheres of life. A staff member told The Huffington Post that the blessing is meant to engage kids in the concrete reality of their lives, and to narrate that God is with them.
A symbol of God’s presence
In addition to the blessing, each child was handed a compass as a sign of God’s presence in their daily life. The blessing given went something like this:
Bless these children and youth and their backpacks as they begin another school year. Keep them from fear. Guide them in the ways of justice and truth. When they are in new places and with new people, help them to remember that you will never leave them. May they always know that they are your children in the world.
This question presents an interesting dilemma from the parent-teen perspective. Someone in our blog community shared this story with me. As you read it, consider how you might handle the situation.
Yesterday my daughter asked if she had to go to church. She said she was tired and needed some unscheduled downtime.
After asking her some questions,
it did seem like the issue was more about her time-management skills (too many activities and social events and time spent texting) than about anything specifically at church, which she generally seemed to like.
Whether it’s “I’m the stupidest kid in my whole math class” or “Okay, I can do this,” we’re familiar with the collection of messages children play in their heads. Self-talk is everything a child believes to be true ….
- …. about the way things work in the world
- …. about themselves in relationship to the world
- …. about a higher power, and that being’s impact on their lives
Self-talk statements usually go unchallenged
Self-talk messages are powerful because kids believe them to be true and consequently, act as if they are true. However, their interpretations can be wrong, causing them to accept as truth conclusions that are actually myths.
For years, I’ve been teaching this in support groups for children, using curriculum by Linda Sibley, who has given permission to share these solutions. I’ve seen firsthand how they work.