10 Back-to-School Must Haves for 2018
It seems like just yesterday I was prepping my oldest daughter for of end-of-grade exams and planning summer activities for the rest of the crew; and now, we’re literally days away from the start of a new school year, which, for me, will be a little different. See, it’s the first year that all three of my children will be in school. My two youngest -- a rising kindergartner and a preschooler, both of whom have been at home with me full-time for the past three years, will now be joining Big Sister (a 4th grader), leaving me somewhat of an empty nester and a big ball of emotions.
In a recent IG post, I mentioned how I’ll never regret leaving my job to care for my children full-time because it’s given me the opportunity to nurture them in ways that no one else can. I’ve poured into them emotionally, academically, and spiritually, and now I’m turning them into the hands of someone else. Welp! I can already feel my skin flushing hot and my eyes forming pools of tears.
I’ve had exactly 1,093 to days to date to witness milestones and priceless moments in their lives that I might have otherwise missed had they been in another person's care.
And now, I’m handing them over to embark on a new journey. So, as they make the transition from home to school, and from old school to new school, I'm praying intently for my children in 10 areas, which I welcome you to use as a guide when praying for your children:
Protection. When you think about all of the things our children are experiencing and being exposed to: bullying, violence, bigotry, not only is it disheartening, but it can also leave you feeling anxious about their well-being. However, you must remember that even in the face of violence and hatred, God is their Protector, today and forever.
Confidence. When their faith makes them unpopular, when what they believe is challenged by those who simply cannot understand it, the pressure our children feel to conform can be intense. But if they can maintain their confidence in Jesus Christ as a result of their personal experience with Him, they can endure the pressure without being broken.
Sense of identity. Our children are inundated with media hype that will send them into a mental and emotional frenzy chasing ideals. If their hearts and minds are not carefully guarded, they will lose sight of who God says they are while in relentless pursuit of who the world tells them they should be.
Leadership skills. Whether they're line leaders, or leaders of the student body, it is important that our children understand that leadership is not just about having the power, but also about having the heart and ability to empower others -- and it all starts with their example.
Relationship skills. "Friend" is a title that has the tendency to be used loosely -- especially in childhood/adolescence. It's often linked to popularity or feelings of self-worth. In some cases, it's "earned" solely as the result of what one person can do for another. But imagine the impact our children could have on their peers if they demonstrated true friendship: honor, affection and encouragement to ALL, without conditions, simply because of the love God has given them for others.
Wisdom. It can guide our children and position them for greatness. A lack of wisdom, however, can quickly destroy all hope they may have had for their future -- and it's important that our children understand this. It's also important that they understand that they don't have all the answers, but they serve a God who does, and He available -- to help them and keep them from falling.
Love for learning. We are raising a generation that is accustomed to things being done quickly and with minimal effort. The idea of working hard to achieve something is seen as an inconvenience rather than the right thing to do. If we can instill in our children the value of discipline, and a love for learning, there is truly no limit to how far they can go.
Resilience. No one likes to fail, but in reality we will all fail at something -- and that includes our children. As parents, we must remind our children that it's not the failures that define them, but how they respond to them. Even in their failures, we want their self-confidence, their faith in God, and their praise to Him to remain solid.
Respect for authority. This can be a difficult one to help our children make sense of when they see it missing at school, in their communities, and even in the nation's highest institutions. But as difficult as it may be for them to understand, it's vital that our children make the connection between those in authority, the God who put them there, and the consequences associated with the failing to respect them both.
The power of self-advocacy.
The fear of being perceived as needy or different can weigh heavily on our children's decision to speak up for themselves. But God can help them see their challenges as opportunities for him to demonstrate his power, giving them the courage to confidently express their needs to others.
All of the above...not sold in stores.
Whether you’re sending your kids off to school for the very first time or for the last time, I encourage you to grab hold of these must-haves, speak them over your children, and take note of how God transforms their lives.
Best wishes for an amazing school year!