September Fall Reflection: Back to School By Jean Bena

For me as a teacher, July is a long Saturday followed by the long Sunday known as August.  September is a hectic Monday morning and the start of Fall.  Fall…the season that might as well start with me trying not to fall apart. The worrying about if I will wake up with the alarm.  Will my children get to school on time? Will they succeed? There are daily prayers to St. Anthony for a parking spot one mile from my school.  The anxiety of wondering what my 120 students will be like.  After 17 years, do I still have what it takes to be a member of NYC’s Brightest? All the paperwork piling high and meeting after meeting of administrators expecting more. The bell rings and my Uber job starts.  Pick me up and take me here there and everywhere. Girl Scouts, Track, Chorus, Swimming, Anime Club – register for this and that. Check and sign my homework. To order take out or attempt to cook something of a meal to share with my family? Wash the dishes and set up the coffee pot for the next morning.  Say nighttime prayers. Timber! As my body falls into the bed for the needed rest to begin again tomorrow.

  Growing up, my mother was a single mom with six children.  She has given me many expressions of wisdom in my life.  One of them is “Always ask a busy person to do something.” I remember asking her why would anyone ask someone who was already busy to do something.  Her response was that “They are busy for a reason and they do get a lot accomplished.”  Growing up, she was the busiest person I ever knew.  I still look back in amazement.

Besides my mom, I had the pleasure to work with a teacher named Ms. Siegal.  She was dying from her fight with cancer and she worked every day regardless of her pain.  Ms. Siegal did not just show up and go through the motions.  She put her heart and soul into her day.  I remember people asking her “How do you do it?” She always responded with the line “I do because I can.” She did much for our students, staff and her family.

    Sometimes its easy to get caught up in the “Back to School” rush.  To get so overwhelmed that we forget. To forget our purpose and the bigger picture. To worry and fear the unknown.  Many of us are the busy people who do because we can.  We do because God has created us to do amazing things. When worried I try to remember to have faith. 

Recently, I have been reading Edward Hays Prayers for the Domestic Church.  The book was part of a wedding gift from MYP’s own Mr. and Mrs. Joe Roach.  One prayer from this work that relates to this topic is entitled Blessed are you Lord our God, who enhances our lives with work. The pray in part reads “Help us, Lord our God, to use the work of this day, to perform it with mindfulness and attention, with care and devotion -that it will be holy and healing for us and for all the earth.  Bless are You, Lord our God, who enhances our lives with work. Amen.”

Lastly, in addition to Hayes, I would like to leave you with some advice from saints to add to your own personal reflection: 

”Go forth in peace, for you have followed the good road. Go forth without fear, for he who created you has made you holy, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother. Blessed be you, my God, for having created me.” – St. Clare of Assisi


“Do not have any anxiety about the future. Leave everything in God’s hands for he will take care of you.” – St. John the Baptist de La Salle