Spring break is over, and there are still several weeks to go. There are more tests, carpool lines, book reports, and science projects. And the coagulated gravy on the Salisbury steak in the cafeteria is getting pretty tiresome, too. I used to teach elementary school, and these last weeks often became a long countdown to summer.
Parents can use these, “I’m tired of almost everything” days to teach kids some great life lessons. (Unless your kids are seniors graduating from high school. They have been more or less checked out since their college acceptance letter.) But, hopefully they have learned a few of these things already.
To start off, what things are mom and dad tired of? Chances are kids are taking a few cues from their parents. If you aren’t as gung-ho about the spelling test or book report in April as you were in September, your kids probably won’t be, either. That said, this is a great time to use everyone’s weariness to teach some important life lessons. There are a LOT of verses in Scripture that talk about finishing strong, but the gold standard is Galatians 6:9: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” The two important points in this verse are that one, people do get weary, and two, the right response to our weariness is to keep going.
Go ahead and acknowledge everyone’s weariness. It’s normal to be tired, and tired of, this time of year. Consider changing up your daily routines, the family schedule or adjusting some extra curricular activities. Sit down with the calendar and let everyone choose something to delete—if they make the “A” on the exam or finish the book or get that science project completed. It’s a good idea to ease up on the “rush” this time of year. Do your kids have time to enjoy their life… or just accomplish it?
One of the things everyone is most weary of this time of year is that their schedule is determined by other people’s choices rather than their own. The baseball season started…maybe a family trip to the ballpark is a good idea instead of a babysitter and that dinner party on the calendar.
Equally important is the lesson about finishing strong. Weariness is normal, but not a reason to give up. Romans 5:4 teaches that “endurance produces character.” The end of the school year is a great time to communicate important character lessons.
- Are your kids self-motivated or is their success overly linked to someone else’s ability to motivate them?
- Do they work hard because it is the right thing to do or only if there is a reward of some kind?
- Do they see their work ethic as a character trait and something that is important to their relationship with God, too?
Everyone’s life “reaps a harvest,” but those words don’t usually mean very much to our kids. We don’t worry about reaping a harvest—we just go to the grocery store. Translate that verse so that your kids will really understand what it means. Do your kids lose anything significant if they don’t work hard?
What is the biblical answer when we grow weary? Galatians 6:9 simply says, “Don’t.” The Bible says to think about the harvest instead and look forward to what your endurance will accomplish.
So…what do your kids look forward to if they finish the school year well? Get the family together, have the conversation, allow everyone to have a say, and then help everyone to endure these last few weeks with a purpose. You might just end the year with some better grades, some better attitudes and, most importantly, some better character.
God has great ideas for parenting—and for parents. Don’t grow weary with the kids and their schedules. Keep investing in those lives God has placed under your care because they are your number one crop right now and the Lord wants you to have a great harvest.
But, let’s face it, April and May are busy months and you have to keep pulling those weeds!