School buses are tuned up, bulletin boards are decorated, floors are freshly waxed and school supply aisles are buzzing with anticipation. A new school year is about to move from theory to reality and with that reality comes both excitement and stress. If you are a parent you are likely wrapping up your summer outings, keeping your kids out of their new school shoes, getting haircuts and loading backpacks with school supplies. If you aren’t careful you might just miss the most important things your kid needs this school year.
5 things they won’t tell you your child needs on the supply list:
Many will be tempted to simply read the bold print and then skip the explanation but for those of you that are still with me…..I mean REALLY pray for your student. Our children are growing up in a world that is entirely different than the world in which we were raised. They are growing up in a world where sexual immorality, political corruption, substance abuse and a slew of other issues are not only in the forefront but in most cases applauded. These are not new issues but they are far more visible and acceptable than in the past. Our greatest defense is to cover our children in prayer. Not weak and wimpy prayers but rather strong, passionate, honest and bold intercession.
By definition a “helicopter parent” is one who takes an overprotective or excessive interest in the life of their child. It is certainly noble and even right for parents to be involved in the lives of their children. Parents have a responsibility to know what is happening in the life of their child. They also have a responsibility to be involved……but being involved and being in the way are two different things. As a parent I understand the urge to hover over my kids. However, I also know that it is actually in their best interest for me to be present yet out of the way. They need space to develop relationally and spiritually. As they grow up I have to take my hand off the wheel and transition from being the driver to being the guard rail. They will make mistakes along the way and there will be times when their hearts are broken…..but that is an important part of growing up. Stay close enough to be there when they need you but don’t hover.
This will come as a surprise to a good number of people out there but it is possible that your child will not share your same interests. You may have loved band……and your child may very well despise even the thought of it. You may have been an all-star athlete…..and your child may loathe the idea of athletics. You may have been valedictorian…..and your child may have trouble passing into the next grade level. My encouragement to you is simply this: it is okay to let your child discover who God created them to be and do what God has equipped them to accomplish. As parents we have a responsibility to encourage our children toward trying various things for the purpose of helping them identify their unique gifting. Unfortunately, it seems like a lot of parents are trying to relive their childhood through their children. When you try to live vicariously through your child, you rob them of being able to enjoy their childhood because they are carrying you on their shoulders.
If you really want to go above and beyond…..resolve to:
Listen to your child’s teachers
Teachers are not your child’s enemy nor are they your adversary. I know there are going to be some bad apples in the basket along they way, but by in large we can assume your child’s teachers are there because they love children and they love teaching. It actually makes their job more complex when parents view them as the bad guy. All of us parents have to realize our little angels aren’t always little angels. Our children are going to occasionally, if not frequently, talk when they have been told to be quiet, stand when they have been told to sit and run when they have been told to walk. Our children are going to test their boundaries and will at times get caught. This is all a very important part of growing up. The teacher who brings repetitive discipline issues or learning issues to your attention is doing so because you need to know. Your child needs you to know. Your denial of your child’s humanity doesn’t help anyone. I have never met a teacher that enjoyed telling a parent about their child’s discipline issues. Do everyone a favor and approach these conversations with an open mind and receptive heart.
Pray for your child’s teachers
There are people in every profession that whine more about their jobs than they should. I am not sure there is anything we can do about this reality. There are some educators in the system that frankly need to find a different profession. That being said, the vast majority of the people I know that serve our children in education feel a deep sense of calling to the profession. They understand the implications of their investment in the lives of our future leaders. The burden is heavy on our teachers because they have state mandates, federal expectations, parental suggestions and children who are in the process of maturing all weighing heavy on their minds. Parents should pray for their children’s teachers. Parents should ask their children’s teachers how they can pray specifically. We have to remember our teachers have lives outside of the classroom as well. They have children of their own who are sometimes making bad decisions. They have family members who strain them relationally. They have marriages that hit hard times. They have medical tests come back with bad news just like everyone else yet they walk into the classroom everyday as “the teacher.” We need to pray for our teachers: their hearts, lives and homes.
Much more could be said but my hope is this will help point us all in the right direction as the school bells begin to ring.