I lived in the same small town from the time I was one until I was sixteen. That means I went to the same school with the same small-town friends from Kindergarten through 10thGrade. I really do not remember much about my first day of Kindergarten, but I will never forget the first day of my 11thGrade year in a new school in a new town. We had been in McAlester since June and I got to know several youth from the church through the numerous summer activities. I even made some good friends who I loved being around. I was pretty confident, though a little nervous, on my first day in the large 5A high school. I survived getting to the right classes with the correct text books for my morning classes. Then came lunch. I knew that the guys I knew the best had an earlier lunch time than me but surely I would find some other church friends in the cafeteria somewhere.
In Wewoka we had open campus for lunch. I had not eaten in a cafeteria since my 8thgrade year. In Wewoka there was one line where everyone received the same meal. As I walked into the new cafeteria I found several lines serving different options. Everyone in the room seemed to know exactly what they needed to do. I picked a line blindly and got my food. I had not spotted anyone in the room I knew. I walked over to a table and sat down to eat. I ate by myself that day. It was not the way I planned on spending my first day in a new school.
As I was putting up my tray I had several people walk up to me and invite me to sit with them the next day. I also found some people from church that told me where they sit. It was the only day I ate alone but that half hour lunch will never be forgotten. I guarantee you I have seen people eating alone differently since that day.
School starts back in a few days. Parents are usually thrilled to get their kids back into a routine. Many of our students are excited to see their friends and find out who their new teacher will be. However, there are many students who find the first day of school terrifying. Many of our students are starting new schools and some may not know anyone where they will be attending. Let us be sure to pray for our students as they walk into their new classrooms. Pray for them to find friends. Pray for them to find an environment where they are comfortable to learn. And pray that they will be a Christian witness to the students around them. May each of them have a positive first day of school they will never forget.