A whirlwind of swimming, road trips, sunshine, popsicles, and lazy days, and here we are again . . . talking about backpacks.
While you begin to prepare your kids for school and all that entails, may I suggest some spiritual preparation as well?
Below, you will find three intentional conversations to have with your kiddos before the first day of school comes knocking. There are questions to get everyone talking, some Scripture (from the International Children’s Bible) to point the way, and some what-if scenarios to get you all thinking.
Your personal parent-to-child interaction will have far more impact than anything they will read or hear elsewhere. Do it around the dinner table, when you’re out for ice cream, or when you’ve got a captive audience tucked in tight.
Have fun and get talking!
Convo #1: Choosing Friends
- What kinds of things do you look for in a friend?
- Who was your closest friend at school last year and why?
- What kinds of qualities would you not want to find in a friend?
- Why is it so important to choose the right friends?
- “Whoever spends time with wise people will become wise. But whoever makes friends with fools will suffer” (Proverbs 13:20).
- “Happy is the person who doesn’t listen to the wicked. He doesn’t go where sinners go. He doesn’t do what bad people do. He loves the Lord’s teachings. He thinks about those teachings day and night. He is strong, like a tree planted by a river” (Psalm 1:1-3).
- “Do not be fooled: Bad friends will ruin good habits” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Your teacher asks you to pick a partner you will work with in math class all year. You will be spending a lot of time with this person!
Can you think of a person you would choose? Why did you pick that person?
Discuss the balance between choosing friends wisely but not shutting yourself off from those who are not just like you. You can be a good influence on those whom God places in your path at school!
Convo #2: Best effort
- Why is learning important?
- Does school really matter?
- Why do we need to work hard?
- What does it really mean to “do your best?”
- “In all the work you are doing, work the best you can. Work as if you were working for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:23).
- “You know that in a race all the runners run. But only one gets the prize. So run like that. Run to win!” (1 Corinthians 9:24).
- “I can do all things through Christ because He gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).
On the first day of school, your teacher asks you to think of an academic goal to strive toward this year. What is your goal, and how will you reach it?
Convo #3: “Jesus Eyes”
What are “Jesus eyes?”
“Jesus eyes” are eyes that see people as Jesus sees them. They look for that one person who needs a kind word or to be included. They stop what they are doing to help others, and they notice when someone is feeling down. Jesus eyes are not always focused on themselves, but they find opportunities to make someone’s day better.
- What does it feel like to not have a friend?
- Can you think of a time when you felt alone at school?
- Did anyone make you feel better?
- Why do we need to serve and think about others?
- “Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you truly obey the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2).
- “Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; The Lord delivers them in times of trouble (Psalm 41:1 NIV).
- “My children, our love should not only be words and talk. Our love must be true love. And we should show that love by what we do” (1 John 3:18).
You finally make it through the lunch line when you look up and see all of your friends waiting for you at a table with only one seat left. Behind you is a student who is brand new to the school and doesn’t know anyone.
You realize that if you take that last seat with your friends, that kid will be stuck at a table alone with the teacher.
What do you do? Besides giving up your seat, can you think of some other things you could do?
Now, pray about it
Let’s pray that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, our kids choose wisely, work hard as unto the Lord, and see with their “Jesus eyes” as this fresh year unfolds!
The Christian Parenting Prayer Journal
If we are going to raise the next generation of kids who honor the Lord and change our culture for his glory, we have got to refocus and re-strategize. Of all the hundreds of things we do each day for our kids, we have to believe that praying for them is the single most powerful and significant thing we can offer.
In an effort to resource you in doing this, we have written a prayer journal that I hope you will order. It is set up to have one main focus to pray over your kids each week of the school year, beginning in September. There’s a place to make notes on specific areas you’re praying about for your kids, as well as related Scripture to guide you in praying each week.
I believe that if Christian parents will band together and commit to faithfully prayer over their kids, we WILL see a difference.
Keep up the good fight in raising your kids and give yourself a break in the places where you haven’t gotten it completely right.