Blog by some of our Wave Church Pastors
Being a mom is what I love most in life. With a high schooler, a middle schooler and a first grader this year, life can easily get hectic. One week I am helping sell tickets for the high school honor choir. The next, I am running over to help glue 600 circles on yellow construction paper. Next up: painting 21 oompa loompa’s faces for the middle school Willy Wonka play. Those are a few great moments I’ve had with my family’s school experience. I’ve also dressed up my son in his full Halloween costume only to show up a day early for the trick or treat party. Talk about judgment from other mothers!!! I’ve missed parent-teacher conferences because, well, I forgot about the appointment. I’ve been yelled at for driving too fast in the pickup line and I’ve also sent lunch boxes that were empty.
I hear other moms talk about how their K-5 child is in running club before school starting at 7am every day. No thanks! They talk about how their kids love to snack on seaweed. Um, who are these children, and did my kid even brush his teeth this morning??? Parenting today is no easy task. Not only are you dealing with the pressure of making sure this little person turns out to be a kind, compassionate, successful person who is also in love with God and His house. But these days, we have the added scrutiny of other parents’ standards and judgments. Don’t bow to that. Don’t grade yourself on anyone else’s scales. Don’t buy the lie that you’re not doing it well because you do it differently!
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned while raising my kids hard isn’t always bad. We have had very difficult and unfair teachers. We’ve been through cruel friends that have bullied, we have gone through personal family storms, & mourned the loss of my beloved mother and their amazing grandma. All of these moments have been overwhelmingly hard. Through all these seasons, I have learned to allow my kids the ability to feel all of it. Of course as their parents we help them navigate through, but we have committed to not fixing the problems. We want our kids to be strong. We ask God to speak to them. We want them to grow up knowing they can handle hard seasons with strength and purpose. I would rather them learn how to navigate through the tough stuff while they are in the safety of our home, than hoping that they get it as adults, somehow. The truth is that life, even as a faith filled Christian, can get tough. But we are overcomers and that has no age limit! If there’s an unfair teacher, teach them to persevere. If there’s a bully, teach them forgiveness and self-worth. If there’s disappointment teach them how to access the peace and presence of God. It’s the greatest inheritance they will ever receive from us if they can learn how to get through the storms of life!
I believe there has never been a better time to be alive than right now! God has confidence in you to parent with strength and grace – you’ve got this mom! Now to get us ready for an AWESOME new school year, here are some great tips…
TOP TEN TIPS FOR A TERRIFIC SCHOOL TAKEOFF
- Get the kids (and yourself) back into a sleep routine
I don’t know about you, but over the summer, we go to bed late and we SLEEP IN! I love being relaxed about bed times and having fun watching movies, playing board games and going for walks at night. But, for our kids to learn and thrive in school, they need their sleep! There have been so many studies done on this topic; proving time and time again that children who sleep more, are more able to retain information and remain focused throughout the day, ultimately resulting in higher grades. School aged children need between 9-11 hours sleep per night. Getting back into this routine 5 – 7 days before school goes back will help avoid those early mornings being such a shock to the system (for you and the kids).
- Prepare school supplies early
Most schools list on their web site the supplies students will need for the grade they’re entering. I find that these things sell out in the stores really quickly, so I like to gather them ASAP to avoid having to buy a pink flower power binder for my 9 year old son because it was the only one left (#parentfail).
- Be generous
Our public schools have great teachers who work hard and give a lot to make their classrooms the best possible environments for the kids to learn in. Often they will, out of their own pocket, buy school supplies. From stickers and erasers, to cleaning and party supplies, find out what they need and in whatever way you can, contribute to your child’s classroom.
- Set aside time to be part of your child’s schooling
I like to know what’s going on in the classroom, and the best way to know is to be there! Even if you can’t commit to once a week or being active in the PTA, work a way to once a month come in for story reading or lunch break to see your child in their school environment, around their friends and teachers.
- Get to know the school faculty
Over the course of the year, many different school staff will be involved in your child’s schooling. Get familiar with who will be advising them and teaching them so you can start healthy communication and relationship with these influencers.
- Stay positive
Attitude is everything! Help your children to see all the benefits of school and focus on the good stuff. Speak positively and with excitement about the year ahead. If you have worries and concerns, choose to talk about these in an adult environment, not where little ears will take on these worries for themselves. I find it especially important to set my children up with a really healthy respect for their teachers. Not all, but a good many issues in the classroom can be solved with a good attitude and honor for the teacher in the room. This starts with me teaching my child to speak respectfully and properly to all adults, setting them up to do this well when I’m not around.
- Pray for them
In all seasons God is with us, goes before us and makes a way – pray with and for your kids, reminding them that God is central to all we do, including our education.
- Teach THEM to pray
Before we even begin, we teach the kids to pray for new friends, for their new teacher and that they will have a fun and successful school year. Let them identify the things that are important to them and pray for that – God seriously cares about all the intricacies of their hearts and lives.
- Let go
Whether it’s your child’s first or fifth year of school, some of us do find it hard to let go, and wish we could hold them close every day – the best thing you can do for them is love them so hard, teaching them to be confident in themselves, and then let them go and watch them spread their wings and fly (and then go and have a little cry in the car).
- Enjoy every minute
Truthfully, I love the summer and hate when it has to end. As the school year approaches, try and get the very most out of every minute you have with the kids, make sure there are lots of laughs and memories made in these sweet times – these will last a life time.