Back to School
Joey and Carla Link
August 28, 2019
When your kids are back in school, whether it be public, private or homeschool, your home life settles back into a routine. While breaks are always good and vacations are fun, routine gives a sense of normalcy to daily life.
Going back to school can also bring about many changesas well as challenges. Kids are moving up a grade, which often comes in a package deal titled “I’m bigger and smarter” which shows in arrogance. In this package are freedoms earned with age yet the “I’m smarter and wiser” attitude shouts they don’t need to ask you for permission to get them. With new grades come new and often different activities and with these new friends loom on the horizon.
Mom and Dad, have your antennas gone up yet? Have you seen areas that may need to be reined in or opened up? Here are a few to think through:
- Freedoms:Kids have more freedom when school is out and they don’t want to give them back when school is in session. They might have had relaxed responsibilities in the summer time, not having consistent bedtimes or a structured flow to their days. They got to stay up late last night and will again tonight to watch a movie together and bedtime will be an unrealistic expectation the next few nights after that as relatives are coming into town for the weekend. Before you know it you have tired, cranky kids who aren’t getting along with anyone, especially you. It’s easy for parents to slide into the habit of reminding and nagging their kids instead of holding them responsible and accountable for what they know to do. How do you bring their freedoms in? Pull in their funnel which is their boundaries. How do you pull in their boundaries? Make them ask permissionfor anything they want to have (such as get into the refrigerator) or do.
- Friends:Summer activities and new grades in schools with corresponding activities and events open the door to new friends and acquaintances. New friends don’t come empty handed. They bring new (sometimes crude) words and phrases, new styles of clothing as well as different standards of what is right and wrong that are not always based on biblical standards. It’s not uncommon for parents to trust their kids will choose wisely when it comes to friends until the bad friend choices they make erupt into a hot, boiling mess.
It is like the Dad who recently told me he didn’t think he had a reason to check his teen’s phone until other issues started surfacing and a friend mentioned he should look at it. When he read the foul language used in his son’s texts with his friends and what they texted about, he knew both he and his son were like “frogs caught in a pot of boiling water and neither of us had any idea how to get out.” In fencing, “en garde” is a French phrase used as an instruction by officials to warnthe competitors to get ready.
Being “en garde” (on guard) when you know changes are coming into your kids’ lives is providing protectionfor them and helps you guidethem (holding true to biblical standards) through new situations with new peers.
- Sports:As school starts again, so do many sports and after school activities. If you ask your parents or grandparents how many of these sports and activities were available to them you might be surprised. “In the good old days” there were just 4 main sports – football, basketball, baseball and track. Today most schools have over 20 different sports for kids to participate in, not to mention the local rec programs or travel clubs. When kids are always on the go to practices, games, getting their homework done, church and other activities like music, parents have little time to train their kids in the way they need to go (Proverbs 3:5-6). We see sports and all other extra-curricular activities as freedoms, not non-negotiables in your kids’ lives until they are characterizedby obedience, self-controland are working on putting other Godly valuesinto their hearts and character. If you choose sports as a tool to teach them Godly values, that is fine, but remember to be “en garde” at all times, always watching for their downhill slides.
- Clothes, styles and new shows:The influence of the internet on today’s generation has become the go to standard of how to dress, act and what shows to watch. Your older kids ask SiriorAlexawhat to wear, what shows their classmates are watching, how to respond to a friend who told your child she wasn’t liked by the popular kids… we are sure this isn’t new information for you. Whatever happened to WWJD(What Would Jesus Do?)
In all the back to school changes and challenges, where is Jesusin them? When your children go to school whether homeschool, public school or private school; do they take Jesus to school with them or do they leave Him in their bedroom until they go to bed that night?
A good verse for your family to memorize as your kids go back to school is Joshua 1:9
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.
Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed,
for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
We hope you are helping your kids take Jesus with them
wherever they go and whatever they do!