It’s time to head back to school. The lazy summer is over (or maybe, if you’re like my family, the hectic summer is over), and it’s time to get back into the swing of the school year rhythm. In our house, that means that not only will we have classes each day from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., or so, but the afternoons will be filled with extracurriculars like sports practices, games, theatre performances and the like. With three kids in middle and high school in our house, it feels like constant chaos. This time of the year school will capture our attention (or demand our attention), and it can be challenging to know how to live like Jesus. As you kick off your school year, let me give you a few thoughts to help you walk faithfully with Jesus as you walk through the school year.
1. Prioritize worship with the church family.
I get it. School, extracurriculars, homework, and more can demand your attention. It can be easy to let church fall by the wayside. This is especially true when we live in a culture that believes going to church to be something of an “optional benefit” to being a Christian. Yet this isn’t what we see in the New Testament. Instead, we are told that we should not forsake the regular gathering of ourselves together. Why? The Scripture says that we are to gather so that we might compel one another to love and good deeds.
In other words, you need the church and, as Scripture points out, the church needs every member to regularly be a part of it for it to function as God designed. The school year is hard. It’s tempting to let church engagement slide in favor of practices, homework, and the like. But I would encourage you to avoid that and be faithful at church. You’ll find yourself healthier and more equipped to handle the school year if you do.
2. Engage your school community as a missionary.
The school year can be overwhelming, but it can also be a blessing. The school community can become like a family as you and your kids spend a lot of time in proximity together with other families. As you do, this can be a great opportunity for you to live on mission, showing others the love of Christ and sharing with them the love of Christ.
It’s true that when our kids are involved, stress can increase and tempers can often show themselves. How you carry yourself in your school community can be a beautiful example of Jesus, opening opportunities for you to live on mission, or it could prove to be the opposite. Be careful not to get so wrapped up in your kids and their experiences that you miss the opportunity to show and share the love of Jesus in your school community.
3. Look for opportunities to bless your kids’ teachers.
Teachers are overworked and underpaid. Most of us know that. They also often deal with the brunt of difficult kids and even more difficult parents. Make a decision not to be one of those parents. Make a decision to be a blessing to your kids’ teachers.
Small, thoughtful gifts on occasion, volunteering when you have the opportunity, and generally being a person of grace when others are more stressful will go a long way in your relationships with the teachers educating your children. Letting your kids’ teachers know you are praying for them. Asking if they have specific prayer requests can be a great way to show the teachers that you care. Be the kind of family that, when you leave your school, the teachers and administrators are sad to see you go.