The beginning of a new school year is filled with the energy, excitement and enthusiasm which is a delight to experience. The mystique of the new school year and opportunities for success produce a certain aura. With the fresh start comes responsibility which is not always realized in the excitement of the new beginning
Creating the proper atmosphere rather than concentrating on structure, will be most important as you make a conscious effort to return to the routine of school. Special effort to praise and to provide positive reinforcement for a job well done can create a sense of pride in accomplishments which, as a child matures, takes a place in the psyche which equals or even surpasses that of a fun event.
The Parent: The child’s first and most important teacher.
When our society was grounded in Judeo-Christian principles, your child (student) was taught Biblical principles in school, and he/she could easily see those principles lived out in the community. This is no longer true and a ‘war’ for the mind of your child is raging. This is especially true in the area of mass media, social media and in general, throughout the market place. More so than ever the parent has a special responsibility to off-set this ‘war’ by following the mandate given to us in the scripture.
Condemning the evils of the internet and social media will not help. Suggesting that your child unplug is wrong and unrealistic. It becomes our responsibility as parents to provide our children with biblical and practical ideas on how to use technology and the changing morals in a Christ-honoring fashion . We should prayerfully strive to teach them to “take every thought captive”, including thoughts and practices related to the use of social media.
Early Morning and Travel Time:
A stress-free morning before school is essential. The time to begin the alleviation of stress is the night before the following school day. Be sure the clothes your child is going to wear are in readiness the night before. Likewise have all supplies and books in place of readiness for the day. A chaotic morning looking for clothes and books makes for a chaotic day. If you provide transportation for you child, arrive at school a minimum of five minutes before classes begin with the proper materials and equipment for the day. Make the ride to school pleasant, sharing thoughts of positiveness and well being. It is most important that you as the parent say good-bye to your child(ren) in a pleasant, warm and caring way. Be sure the climate is not harsh. Flowers cannot grow in a harsh environment.
School a place of work:
Each day the faculty and staff go to work at a place called school. They should be the models and examples for your child. The school should exemplify the characteristics of a place for learning. Likewise, each day your child goes to work at a place called school. Their dress, their behavior and their preparation should exemplify preparation for learning.
If there is one thing I could recommend for “bonding” of parents and children it would be the evening meal. Make it happen. Discuss the day, talk of books that are being read, what happened at school today. I really like what one family does by placing a large bowl in the middle of the table. The bowl is filled with ‘situations’ that occur in every day life. Each child, parents too, if you so desire, take a slip and reads the situation. Example: “you are at a party and your friends decide to leave to get some alcohol and ask you to go, what do you do.” Obviously, you make the situations age appropriate. The purpose is to create real life situations to intellectually rehearse before your child is placed in the situation. Parents, this is a golden opportunity to integrate biblical truth in your child’s every day life.
Family meeting: A good way to start the year is with a family meeting where the guidelines and behaviors for the new school year are discussed. Talk about the morning routine, evening quiet time for study, conduct at school and other places. This is a good time to voice a prayer for your children and the year ahead.
The end of a day, story time, talk time, prayer time. Mom and Dad please take this time with your child to recount the blessings and to place issues aside by conflict analysis or giving it to God. Like the morning, time this is not a time not for chaos but a time of comfort and togetherness.
Remember, you are your child’s first and most important teacher. This journey of going to school will last 13 years. At the end of this time your child will depart and establish their own lives. You might ask what will they be like, what will they be doing……….remember they will be doing what you have taught them.
“…….and when they grow old they will be like their teacher”