TIME: From the time your child starts school, until school ends, it will be about 10 months. Therefore, for 10 months your children will be away from you for roughly 8 hours every week day. One of the best fortunes you can give them as they head back to school is time. I started out with time, not because it is the most important, but it is extremely significant. Make time to listen to them. Make time to teach them. Make time to learn from them. Yes, schools are places of learning. School are also places of significant social struggles, negative societal influences and harsh violence. No school is exempt, the elite, the urban, the private, the Christian and the public. The difference you will make in your children’s life this school year is the time you invest in talking with them about their school day, and making time to nurture them with encouragement. Time is the most precious fortune you can give your children.
PRAYER: Send them out with prayer every day. Ask God to send His angels to walk alongside them. Ask for His spirit to lead, and guide them to make the right decisions. Ask for blessings on their intellects. Ask God to help them to obey His laws and the principles that you taught them. Pray with them, pray over them, and as they leave the house, just say “Lord Remember (your child’s name).” Teach them to pray for God’s help wherever they are. I prayed that God would handpick my children’s friends, and He surely did. I prayed that God would keep them standing tall instead of yielded to influences, and He surely did. So, pray and ask for guidance, but don’t forget to give thanks every evening when your children are safe in the house. Prayer is the noblest fortune you can give your children.
ARMOR: Notice, I didn’t say weapon, I said armor. There is HUGE difference; weapons defend and armors protect. Armies defend themselves and still end up surrendering, don’t they? With the right protection, you may not even have to defend. The right protection is found in Ephesians 6: 10 – 17. In the morning when my children got ready for school, I used to ask them, “Did you put on your armor?” The helmet of salvation to protect their minds. The breastplate of righteousness to protect their heart. The shield of faith to protect and strengthen their confidence. The sword of the Spirit, is the word of God (not a weapon). This will protect them during adversity.
Give them an encouraging bible verse. One daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly, however often you find appropriate for your family. Just make sure that it has relevance and meaning for who they are and what God wants you to teach them. So how do they put on this armor? Based on one of Dr. Charles Stanley’s sermon, I asked them say a prayer. For example, “Lord, clothe me in your armor today. I thank you for the armor and gladly wear the helmet, the breastplate, the shield and carry the sword. Protect me from the dangers that are all around me.” If your child is not old enough, pray the armor on them each day. I have full confidence in the armor of God. Armor is the safest fortune that you can give your children.
ACCEPTANCE: C’s are just as good as A’s if your child has put forth his/her best effort. I say to my children, “If you have worked as hard as you could for that C grade, then I’ll take it.” Not all children will be on the honor roll. But, you want to make sure they are on God’s honor roll list, when He makes the roll call. Schools nowadays are about A’s and B’s but they should be more about characters. As a parent you should know your children’s learning ability. Don’t compare them with your neighbors, they come from two different wombs, for two different purposes. Encourage them to keep their eyes in their books and do their honest work. Accept who they are and how they learn. Every morning, boost them up with a dose of confidence that God knows the plans of prosperity He has for them. Let them know that you believe that they can accomplish whatever God has in store for them. What God has in store may have nothing to do with A’s and B’s, but it may have a lot to do with C’s. You never know! Acceptance is the most peaceful fortune that you can give your child.
SUPPORT: Students in elementary (primary) schools have different needs than those in high schools. Elementary school aged kids want to see their parents out in the audience rooting for them during school events. On the contrary, many high school students prefer that parents stay far from school. However, no matter who they are and what they prefer, make time to show up when it is time to show up. If you are going to show up to embarrass your child in front of other children, please stay home. If you are going to show up to listen, learn and then deal with issues at home, please show up. Your children need you to represent them well when you show up at their school, just like you want them to represent you well when they go to school.
Support your children by helping them with homework or get help if you can’t. Support them when others are attacking them. Support them with encouraging words when they don’t want to go to school in the mornings. Support them with the tools to learn; children can’t excel without tools. Support them with what they need. Remove the obstacles they don’t need (especially the gadgets) that prevent them from learning effectively. Support is the most comforting fortune to give your child.
DISCIPLINE: Discipline (not punishment) is one of the corner stones of a successful school year for both parent and child. Examine the measures that you need to take in your home, and enforce them with a loving hand. Here are a few areas where many families fall short.
- Bedtimes has to be rigid; children can’t be allowed to send themselves to bed whenever they choose. A well-rested child is a mentally alert child.
- Television time has to be limited; have a cut off time. In my house, television time used to be after homework or not at all. Games (computer, Xbox) are played only on weekends. My son is now in college and we still try to abide by that rule.
- Technology time has to be monitored. If your child is home, phones do not need to be in their care or even turned on.
- Playtime has to be included. Children need time for entertainment, sport, family fun, etc.
- Homework time has to be rigid. But, if family circumstances don’t allow my children to complete work, I send a letter to school; I apologize and ask for more time. Young children should not be sitting up late to do homework, because parents had a family event, emergency or other occasion.
Build discipline in your children and you will teach them a life skill. Discipline is the toughest fortune you can give your child.
LOVE: It’s your children. Other than God, who can love them more than you can? Plan the school year with them. Let them know what things are not negotiable. For the ones that are negotiable, let them help you set the rules. Forgive their mistakes and move on. Love them through the F’s and the D’s, even more than you love them through the A’s. Give meaningful rewards, not just punishment. If your child is getting F’s in math and is now getting D’s, that calls for celebration. Give an incentive for him to start bringing home C’s. Use every opportunity to motivate your child.
Love them and let them go. Don’t sit in their classes unnecessarily. Don’t call them every minute during school hours. Don’t call them out of classes. Teach them the word of God, teach them the right principles of life and let them go…but don’t let go of the cord that connects you to them. Love is the most valuable fortune you can give your child.
Send off your children to school with these precious, noble, safe, peaceful, comforting, tough, but valuable fortunes, and they will succeed for here and after.
Proverbs 22: 6, “Train up a child in the way he should go and he will not depart from it.”
For more help and parenting techniques see The Empowered Parent: Six Simple Steps to Help your Struggling Child Succeed (Also at Amazon).