Tomorrow morning marks the start of another school year and the first time that all three of our children will be in school all day. I’m not going to lie this is one of my least favorite days of the year. Tonight we close out the summer and tomorrow morning begins one year older, one year closer to football parties, boys, girls, acne, first cars, first loves and broken hearts. Sorry…like I said, I’m not a big fan of this night.

I just put my kids to bed and quietly whispered a prayer of protection over each one of them individually. For you “First Timer” parents walking your little ones to school in the next few days, I can really only offer you one piece of advice. It came from Country singer Pam Tillis (no, I don’t know here). She sang this lyric in a song (which had nothing to do with school…or children), but the line captured me. I am reminded of it every year at this time.

You do whatcha gotta do

When you know what you know

You hang on until you can’t hang on

Then you learn to let go

You get what you need sometimes

When it’s all said and done

You do whatcha gotta do

And you let that pony run….

-Pam Tillis

A few years ago my wife and I walked “The Boy” to school and for the first time, we “let that pony run”. That was a tough day. We held the handle bars as long as we could. We taught him all we could teach him and did our best to “train him up”. I’m happy to report that he did just fine. Just fine indeed. We did the same with our middle child a few years later. Tomorrow morning, we will let go of our youngest child in the same way. It’s time to let that pony run. We’ve “held on until we can’t hang on” any longer.

In the morning we will walk all three of our children to school and release them into the world that is their school. I pray for their protection. I pray for their friends and their circle of influence. I pray that each one will be a light in their school and will care for the ones that need it most. I pray they will stand up for those that need a friend and be leaders where opportunities present themselves. I pray they will respect others and see people as Jesus sees them.

And we’ll let those ponies run….

*Originally written August, 2010