It’s that time.
My oldest kiddo is headed to kindergarten this year while my little free spirit is off to Pre-K. They’re both SO excited. Luckily right now, they love learning, and I want to keep it that way.
We’ve got their backpacks. Their crayons, glue sticks, and erasers. Their back-to-school clothes and tennis shoes.
And while all of that is a necessary part of early elementary school, there’s something much more important.
Are their hearts ready?
It’s the question I find myself asking since they’re going to public school. The truth is, this momma yearns to homeschool her babies. But in this season, it’s not quite possible yet. While I’d love to be preparing lessons this week and getting their curriculum all ready, that’s just not in the plan right now.
Thankfully, there are great teachers who love our kids and are passionate about guiding them in learning. My mom used to be one of them (until her retirement), so trust me when I say my desire to homeschool has nothing to do with a lack of appreciation for educators.
It’s just something God has laid on my heart for a time that hasn’t quite made it here yet.
While I don’t worry about their teachers, I do often wonder about the impact made by other students on their little lives (and the impact they make on others too). Don’t think I want to shelter them from it. Effective interaction with others is too essential to every fiber of our beings for that.
No, I don’t want to keep them from it. But I do want to prepare them for it.
- I want to prepare them for the child who tries to convince them to do they things they shouldn’t.
- For the child who’s sitting alone because no one else wants to be their friend.
- For the child who tries to make others feel inferior.
- Or the child who feels inferior themselves.
I want to prepare them to be out among the broken. They may still be little lights, but man, can they shine.
Being Little Lights
“Is she saying she’s trying to make her 4 & 5-year-olds into little evangelists?”
I’m saying my kids love Jesus, and I don’t want them to be afraid to let Him shine through them.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”There is no junior Holy Spirit. The God who tells me to smile at the cashier and sincerely ask her about her day is the same God who can give my children the eyes to see their classmates the way He sees them. https://plantingvineyards.com/back-to-school-prep/” quote=”There is no junior Holy Spirit. The God who tells me to smile at the cashier and sincerely ask her about her day is the same God who can give my children the eyes to see their classmates the way He sees them.”]
Do they have to lay hands on the kids in their classes and pray for them? No, but it would be cool if they did.
I’m just saying that children are 100% capable of showing the love of God to others (often more so than adults because they have less hurt and lies to weed through).
Our Back-to-School Prep
So what exactly are we doing to get them ready for the school year?
1) Water their growing hearts
For our kids, confidence starts at home. We start each day with this reminder:
♥ I am LOVED!
♥ I am one smart cookie.
♥ I’m a great kid.
♥ I am kind.
♥ I am thoughtful.
♥ I am patient.
♥ I’m a big helper.
♥ I’m a world changer.
♥ I am understanding.
♥ I am loving.
♥ I’m a LIGHT!
Beyond this list, make it a point to speak life into them regularly. Are your kids perfect? Nope. Mine aren’t either. But doesn’t negate our duty to speak to the gold deposited in them.
2) Pray over them
In this post, I talk about 2 things I vigilantly pray over my children:
But in preparation for the school year, I also pray:
- that they be overflowing with the love of God
- that the Holy Spirit will embolden them to exhibit strong character, especially when it’s hard
- that they will be anxious for nothing
- that they will turn to God and us, as their parents, when they need help
- that they will be an example for other kids, in whatever ways they are gifted
A quick note: let your kids hear you praying for them.
I treasure those verses in John when Jesus is praying because I get to read something that He prayed with me (and all believers) in mind. And of course, it’s a comfort knowing that He always intercedes for me.
Similarly, we are the hands, feet, and mouths of Christ in our homes. We are the ambassadors of Jesus to our children. What does hearing us pray for them stir in their little hearts?
I love having people in my life who pray for me. But there’s something very special about my mother telling me the situations in my life that she’s praying over.
Over and over again in Scripture we see that God thinks generationally, and the family unit is something of extremely high value to Him. How precious then are the prayers we speak over our children and allow them to hear?
3) Open the conversation
If we really want our kids to get it, we need to just talk to them.
Talk to them about peer pressure and bullying. Let them know what they should do if they see someone else being teased. Encourage them to be kind to those who don’t have many friends. Teach them the importance of disagreeing with others without being disrespectful.
Of course, modeling these types of behaviors for them goes far. Want your daughters to know gossiping about their friends isn’t cool? Make it a point not to gossip. Want to teach your young men not to tease other boys? Make your home a no-teasing zone. Want them to respectfully disagree with others who have differing opinions? Make it an everyday practice.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”If we want our kids to have strong characters, it starts with us. https://plantingvineyards.com/back-to-school-prep/” quote=”If we want our kids to have strong characters, it starts with us.”]
Take steps to model the behaviors you want them to exhibit (if you haven’t already).
We only have a few more days before my son goes to kindergarten and a week before my daughter heads to Pre-K. I don’t know how much time you have before your little ones head off to school. Or maybe they already have. Even if that’s the case, it’s not too late. Let’s all do what we can to help our little lights shine.
How are you preparing your kids for this school year?
Until next time,
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