There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
“No more carpools, no more books, no more sleepy children’s looks,” rang in my mind every spring as I anxiously awaited the last day of school. I pictured my family barefoot at the beach building sand castles. I pictured drinking a diet Coke as I lay on my little blue raft in the pool. I pictured family work days followed by an ice cream sundae party for all. I rejoiced at no homework, no schedules, and no sporting events. I was excited about being family, building character and making memories. In my mind, it was to be the picture, perfect summer.
Then reality hit! Halfway through the summer, sibling rivalry was at its peak. The house began to need “Maid-A-Day” spelled “M-O-M.” Summer funds were low from all the summer activities, and I was exhausted. Now I had a different picture in my mind. I pictured driving up to the carpool line with a permanent smile on my face. I pictured all of my children getting out of the car as they politely said, “Thank you, mom!”
I pictured myself lifting my arm up and giving a beauty pageant wave to all my children as I as politely said, “Have a great day. I love you.” They say if you want to dream, dream big!
I was ready for school to begin. As the children were whining, “No school!” I was shouting, “Yes, yes, school!” — but only in my mind. These profound words I spotted on a bumper sticker, “Change is inevitable, but growth is optional.” We change our clothes, and sometime our style. We change our diets. We change our attitudes. Seasons in our lives change. Change was on the horizon; a new school year was going to begin. So, how do we properly prepare, and all grow in this new school year?
Teach your child to know that they can tell you anything. Work hard at keeping the lines of communication open. If they have a problem at two or at twelve, assure them that the door to your heart and your room is open. No reservations necessary.
Be ready with a listening ear that is well trained to listen between the lines even if there are no words spoken. Be discerning to know when to give wise advice and when to be silent. An assuring hug can heal a broken heart faster than a word of encouragement at times. Let them know that you are on their team and they can count on you.
Encourage your child to be a good example and to do the right thing no matter who is watching. Teach your child that not telling those in authority about another student’s misbehavior can be as irresponsible as the student who is doing wrong. Teach your child that Honesty is always the best policy by walking with integrity yourself. Character counts, so reward right choices!
Teach your children to welcome the new guy or gal in the class. Encourage your children to invite them over or include the new student in their circle of friends. Be hospitable and teach your children that there is room in your home and lives for all to be welcome.
Sit down with each child before the school year begins. Ask them if they have any fears, anxiety, or questions about the upcoming school year. Then have a talk about some serious problems that could arise. Bullying, peer pressure, cheating on tests, strangers, drugs, alcohol, and relating to the opposite sex should be addressed. What are their goals, hopes, and expectations for the coming year? Make it clear what you expect of them. If you are addressing high-school or college students you can narrow down “The Talk” to three specific points:
- Be Pure
- Be Legal
- Be Righteous
Life is a learning experience. We are our child’s first teacher. Teach the joy of learning and the challenge of growing in new directions. We are forming the next generation. Let us pass the faith down by living for Christ Jesus our Lord. Make this school year a positive learning experience. You can make a difference in the life of your child, and then they can make a difference in the lives of others. Don’t let their peers and teachers be the ones who are primarily forming their character. Sit down frequently with them while they eat a snack and ask how school and relationships are going. It is easy to ask the pat question, “How was your day at school?” which will probably result in the pat response, “OK.” The look on their face often tells a lot more than the words.
It is hard to believe that 2019-2020 school year is already upon us! As you gather up your sleepy-eyed children, buckle them in, set your GPS for school, and don’t forget to practice your beauty-pageant wave with a permanent smile on your face. You are once again the carpool mom with your lipstick on. I think that I can almost hear the parents out there shouting in unison, “Let there be school!”
THE CHALLENGE: I challenge you to host a back-to-school party and let each child invite a friend.
Copyright 2019 Ellen Mongan