New pencils and pens, erasers, calculators, scissors, and markers are being sold by retailers this season, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere. Parents have been busy getting children ready for the new school year. For some, this is a happy time, a fresh start to a new adventure, new friends, maybe a new school level – stepping up from elementary to middle school, or another advancement. For others, however, it might be full of angst and fear. Perhaps a new locale or a change of school brings anticipation of being left out, inadequate, or just plain afraid.
When we were raising our children, there were several years that involved new schools, and sometimes new countries and new continents. As my husband's job moved us around the globe, we weren't always in sync with the school calendar in the new school system. One time when we moved from the United States to Australia, we had to decide whether to advance our daughter a semester or have her repeat one. Since she'd always been quite capable among her age group and handled change with ease, we moved her ahead.
About six weeks into the term, she came to me one day after school in tears, which was uncharacteristic of her. She was floundering in one of her subjects and was perplexed. This had never been her experience in school. I assured her that we would get her the help needed and that she would not drown.
We did two things. I found a tutor to help her after school, and we turned to God to find spiritual calm and confidence, as we were (and are) accustomed to doing whenever someone in the family needed help.
Reasoning together in prayer, we realized that as God's child she was supplied with whatever was needed. Confirming her identity to be spiritual, as everyone's is in fact, we recognized that she included ability, wisdom, intelligence, and joy. These were the real school supplies that would help her no matter what course subject she was dealing with, and they were already provided by a loving God. As His image she couldn't lack anything, but rather expressed adequacy and acumen. Fear of failure was not from God, divine Love, which the Bible explains, casts out fear (see I John 4:18). This view of creation as complete and perfect is based on the spiritual explanation in the first chapter of Genesis. There, creation is laid out as orderly, good, and divinely orchestrated. Man, which includes the male and female of God's creating, is announced as the image and likeness of his Maker.
It also occurred to me as I was praying about this situation that a move that was beneficial to my husband and to our family could not be detrimental to our daughter. I leaned on God's law "whatever blesses one blesses all" as is stated in Mary Baker Eddy's main work, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 206). I also referred to a favorite proverb, "The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it" (Prov. 10:22).
God supplies our perceived need, no matter how great or large it appears to be, through His all-encompassing goodness and through the spiritual reality that we are His much-loved children. A line from a hymn in the "Christian Science Hymnal" describes the magnanimous nature of God in this way: "Wide as our need Thy favors fall" (No. 229.) We are all the recipients of these favors, His heavenly care.
Our daughter made immediate progress. She became more confident, and her schoolwork improved, too. She was quickly up to speed in the class that had been so advanced for her, and the tutor was no longer needed. Before long she was able to broaden her wingspan even further and take on more academic projects, as well as additional extracurricular interests. She found great security through turning to God in this time of need.
The spiritual fact is that each of us already has increased capacity that we have yet to discover. God has provided us with this and with unlimited abilities to meet every need. We can confidently draw on this provision as we head to school or any other endeavor. His infinite supply supplies us.