Have you ever seen the Staples® back-to-school commercial? It shows parents joyfully filling their shopping carts with school supplies, gearing up to send their children back to school, while the song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” plays in the background. Every time I see this commercial pop up, I have to admit that it does make me chuckle. More importantly though, I think about all of the teachers and school staff who also are preparing to begin a new year. I think, “How difficult it must be for them, now more than ever before!”
Summer is in full swing in the eastern part of Pennsylvania. The sweltering heat from the sun is radiating down onto the concrete causing illusions of wavering images as it reflects off the street. I recently noticed, as I was leaving my parish's rectory, that this heat was causing the energy and excitement that filled the children who were participating in Vacation Bible School to decrease. With their outdoor activities being limited due to the muggy conditions, the children were being sent indoors to continue their activities in an air conditioned gym. While observing the children out on the school playground in the summer heat, getting tired and looking for someplace cooler or a drink of water, my mind flashed back to a time when I was in Nigeria and was given the opportunity to participate in a Vacation Bible School session. This session was being held in a village, located in Igbo land, in the southern part of Nigeria.