Padre’s Corner: Back to school

St. Brendan’s Chapel at Stadacona.
Photo: CFB Halifax

Finding God in new back-to-school routine

By Capt PJ Vere, Unit Chaplain,
CFB Halifax

September is back-to-school for many of our military families. Yet unlike commencement to the school year during Septembers past, this year brings with it a level of uncertainty.
This uncertainty equally affects students, teachers and parents.

What will school be like following the Coronavirus pandemic? What changes can we expect to daily classroom routine? What about in our interactions between students, teachers, and parents?

Are after-school sports and holiday concerts traditions of the past? Although students are returning to school, our daily school routine – what previously we considered normal – will change.

This reminds me of the first Navy expression taught to me as an army chaplain when I was posted to CFB Halifax two years’ ago: “There are two things the Navy hates: change, and the way things are.”

For some of us, changes to school routine are an object of dread.

Others approach these changes enthusiastically and as an opportunity to improve the way things were.

After all, not all students share the same learning style, or benefit from live classroom interaction with their teacher and peers. Nor does every dozy teenager find himself or herself at peak learning capacity during the morning and early afternoon. Whether one prefers the way things were or is open to change, often depends upon one’s attitude.

Within the Christian faith we refer to this as grace.  Grace is giving oneself permission to maintain a positive attitude when life circumstances necessitate change.  Through grace, we invite God to accompany us as we adapt to change, trusting Him to see us through the process. St Paul teaches us that God will never burden us beyond our capacity to handle.

Thus as we prepare our children to return to school, I would invite you to allow God to be part of the change. Ask Him to gift us with the grace to accept these changes with a positive attitude.