School is almost here! Class is almost in session!
Some of you are doing your touchdown dance at that good news. Others of you are dreading the thought.
Your kids are beginning to transition their brains from a summer of movies, gaming, staying up way too late, eating lots of junk food, socializing with friends six times a week, and otherwise undisciplined living to the hilt, to the thought of structure, order, schedules, and routines. Ugh!
Parents, you’re knee-deep in buying new backpacks and tennis shoes, school supply lists, registration, enrollment, athletic fees, working out car pool rides, locating the bus stop, filling your calendars with upcoming events, and squeezing in all the last minute things you meant to do all summer but never got around to. Ugh!
Yep, school starts soon! For most of us in the Kansas City area, it starts this week. It starts. It begins. It commences. It launches. Yeah, that’s what “starts” means. And as your kids start, begin, commence, and launch a whole new school year this week, I’m going to challenge you to start something as well. For some of you, this is nothing new. But for others, this might be something you’ve never considered before.
So, for all you parents out there with kids starting school this week (or shortly hereafter), here are 3 things you gotta do for your kids:
1. Pray for them
This is the biggest weapon in our arsenal as parents. In so many ways, our kids’ futures depend on how worn out our knees are from praying for them. If we believe God is who He says He is, and if we believe God can do what He says He can do, then why wouldn’t we pray often for our kids? Pray for their protection, their attitude, their character, their friends, their ability to influence and be influenced, their priorities, their heart, their salvation, etc. By praying for them, we not only acknowledge the fact that we can’t change our kids, but we know the One who can.
2. Pray with them
It’s sometimes easier to pray for our kids than pray with them. After all it’s a much safer distance and far less intrusive. But I firmly believe that praying with someone demonstrates love and concern in ways that speaking those words doesn’t. When we pray with our kids they can hear our heart and we can hear theirs. Don’t worry about impressing them (or God) with the “right” words. Just pray what’s on your heart. And ask them to do the same thing. Ask them specifically what they want you to pray for, and then do it right then and there.
3. Stay plugged in
Kids need to know you’re interested in their lives. Kids need to feel valued in the things they’re involved in. Kids need to sense worth and validity in their thoughts and feelings and struggles. As parents, we either contribute to their worth and value or we fail to contribute. By staying plugged in—by being engaged in conversation—we reveal to them that we care. Ask great questions. Know their teachers’ names. Go to their events. Get creative in your responses back. Even if (or maybe when) they don’t seem to plug into you, you gotta stay plugged in to them.
I’m not sure who coined the phrase “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” but with regard to us “old dog parents” I think you can. My challenge for us all is to put into practice these three essentials beginning this week. That’s your assignment. Class is now in session! Now get to work! 🙂