Back to School Encouragement

Back to School Encouragement

Author: Melinda Leonetti
August 01, 2023

Towards the end of every summer, I start getting excited about beginning a new school year.  I enjoy settling back into a routine and spending more one-on-one time with my boys.  I look forward to the cooler weather and being able to open the windows in the schoolroom again.  But I have to confess that some reoccurring fears also start creeping up in my mind.  I begin thinking about how I’m going to have the energy to keep homeschooling, whether or not I will somehow ruin my kids, and if I’m doing enough to teach them about the Lord.  Back when my kids went to Christian school, I also used to think about the money we were going to spend on tuition, clothes, and supplies, how we would handle problems that happened at school, what the kids in their classes were going to be like, and how we would get through the never-ending homework.   And even though I haven’t been a public-school mom, I went to public school and a long time ago, I was even a public-school teacher.  So, I understand the concerns there as well.  What will their teachers be like?  Will they fit in?  Will they make any Christian friends?   Will this pull them from the Lord? 
None of these concerns are exclusive and I’m sure I’m not alone in my feelings.  No matter where your children go to school, you know the endless thoughts that can go through your mind concerning their well-being.  Getting our kids ready for a new school year can be both exciting and nerve wracking for parents.  And for most Christian parents, our biggest concern for our children is how to protect them from the world and keep pointing them to Christ during these susceptible and impressionable years. 
Children minds are like sponges.  They soak up everything around them, learn quickly, and repeat what they hear.  In order to capture their hearts at a young age, we start training our children early.  We teach them Bible verses, pray with them before bed, and take them to church.  We play Sunday School songs on repeat, organize play groups with Christian friends, and pray over them continually.  It’s probably fair to say that we keep our young children in a well-protected Christian bubble.  At some point though our bubble-wrapped children have to venture out into the real world.  As we take them with us shopping, go to the playground, and even turn on cartoons, it becomes apparent that opportunities to see and experience sin are everywhere. 
Once our children start school, the opportunities grow.  Curriculum content, classmates, internet access, field trips, birthday parties, organized sports, after school activities, and homeschool groups are all influential in the lives of our children.  Their impressionable minds are exposed to thousands of new ideas as they begin to independently interact with the world.  And because our kids are human, they ponder and entertain these new ideas. 
So, what do we do?  First, just because we can’t protect our children from everything doesn’t mean all things should be permissible.  God’s Word gives us a lot of insight into what honors and dishonors Him.   Yes, there are a lot of moral gray areas, but our children need to understand that if it goes against God’s Word, they must not do it.  In a world of tolerance, we need to be faithful to say when something is sin and there is nothing wrong with limiting your child’s exposure to sin.  Do you remember the song, “Oh Be Careful Little Eyes What You See?”  Have you taught your children to be careful what their eyes see?  Do they see sin the way God sees it?  Are they able to discern if something is sinful or are you allowing them to compromise?  If you know what your child is interested in doing, seeing, or participating in doesn’t honor Christ, do you tell them “No” and protect them from it?  Or do you back down from that responsibility because it is easier to give in?  If so, I’m encouraging you to get back into the battle and find the strength to say, “No”.  We are living in a culture where parents, even Christian parents, are losing their authority to strong-willed children.  Be willing to say “No, I don’t think that honors Christ.”   “No, I don’t think that movie would put pure thoughts in your mind.”  Or “No, I don’t think those are kids you should be hanging out with.”   If you aren’t sure if something is good for your child to see or do, let Philippians 4:8 be your guide.  Paul says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”  Our children (even older children) need us to say “No” for them.   They need to know that protecting them from exposure to sin is a safeguard for them spiritually.  Satan is actively working to cause doubt and uncertainty in their hearts, and they don’t have the wisdom or spiritual maturity to know what is best for them, but we do!   
Second, our children need to know that Jesus is the answer to every uncertainty, every fear, and every temptation they will face.  Going back to school can be frightening for a lot of children.  They may struggle with learning, peer pressure, or making friends.  We need to help our children turn to Jesus when they are struggling and the best way for them to learn this is to see it in us.  In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul tells the Corinthian believers to “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”  Positive or negative, our children are going to imitate what they see.  Have you heard the quote, “If we don’t teach our children to follow Christ, the world will teach them not to”?  If you turn to worldly comfort when you are stressed or overwhelmed, so will your children.  Instead, when you are facing a trial, include your children in your prayers for strength and peace.  And then share with them how God worked and answered your prayers.  And when your children are facing their own problems, instead of solving it for them, read Bible verses together and pray with them. Give them the tools they need to point them to Christ.   
These school years are difficult regardless of how our children are educated.  They are facing temptations, deceptions, and flat-out lies from Satan.  They are being pulled by the world while they are in our homes and out of our homes.  Our children need us to protect them, and they need us to continually point them to Christ.  Parenting isn’t easy.  It takes a lot of intentional work.  As our children head back to school this year, let’s make this spiritual investment together!
Verses to encourage your children this school year:
1 Corinthians 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
Colossians 3:2 “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
Psalm 101:3 “I will set no wicked thing before my eyes.”
Galatians 6:9 “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”
Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Romans 12:9 “Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”


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