by MEANNE M. MIJARES
Summer is almost over! It’s back to school season once again! I remember the time how every school year my parents, sister and myself would go to National Book Store to accomplish what’s in our checklists. We got the checklists from our school and make sure to follow it to the letter because it was so easy to get distracted by all the other “important” paraphernalia. My parents made sure to stick to the budget and only get what we need based on those lists. How excited we were for school back then! I remember how my mom covers our new notebooks, dictionaries and textbooks then help her out, how we pile our pens in our colorful pencil cases. How I love sniffing the pages of the new notebooks we purchased! We made sure to avoid the rush and get a better selection of school supplies by shopping early. Now I see parents with their own children and nothing has changed but if there is any, it is a wider range of choices of school supplies abound the place!
A new school year is a new beginning, of course. But more than that, spiritual support is indeed a must!
For you dear parents, here are six Bible (6) verses from author/speaker/storyteller Amelia Rhodes that you can pray over your children this coming school year:
S-elf-control 1 Peter 5:8 New International Version (NIV) “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
C-ourage Joshua 1:9 New International Version (NIV)
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
H-elp from the Holy Spirit “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.”
O-pportunities to do good Galatians 6:10 King James Version (KJV)
“As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”
O-vercome evil Romans 12:21 “New International Version (NIV)
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
L-ove God and others Matthew 22:37-39 New International Version (NIV)
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
She further adds: “As I go about my day, I find myself praying like this, “Lord, wherever they are, whatever they are facing, help them to exercise self-control. May they have courage to stand up for what is right. May they know the help that comes from Your Holy Spirit. Help them to see the opportunities you place in front of them to do good. May they overcome evil through Your power. And above all, may they love You and love others today.”
It’s the best time to give children social and emotional skills to help them thrive in the face of life’s inevitable transitions whether your children are starting kindergarten, entering elementary, high school, or leaving the family nest for college, we invite you to bless them as they go out to face the real world.
First, ask how your child is feeling about going back to school. Some parents make the mistake of either filling their child with their own fears or telling them not to be scared about the first day. First, simply listen to your child’s inner thoughts and feelings. If they appear upset, suggest, “Many children feel sad or scared. Is that something that you’re feeling?”
Now reassure them. Once the feelings are out and have been normalized, your child can more easily hear your words of encouragement, comfort and reassurance things will be all right. Help them to reach out and re-connect with old friends before the first day back.
See Change as a Chance
Re-label those butterflies in their tummies. Even though it’s typical to have awkward feelings of expectation, the butterflies can also lightheartedly be regarded as “thrill” instead of apprehension.
Map out positive thinking. As much as possible, explore out the school and teacher ahead of time so your child can mentally rehearse what things will be like. Have them close their eyes at bedtime and imagine how their experience will be fun and positive.
Put back the School Routines
Re-establish routines. Offering a sense of security gives children a strong groundwork for facing the unknown. Keep things loving and positive, but with a return to the predictable routine. Sleep is crucial to reducing fears and prickliness. Spend a few days before the first day of school getting your child back on a reliable and fitting sleep schedule.
Create a Planning Ritual
Create a checklist of things to do way ahead of time, including purchases, and make it a cool and exciting adventure around decision-making. You can also avoid last minute panic by letting them have an early bath and early supper and of course arranging the backpack and placing out the first day’s special clothes the night before to avoid the horrendous traffic.
Talk about Your Own Experiences
Share your own experiences around transitions. It’s helpful for parents to teach by example. I remember how my late father used to share not only his childhood triumphs, but also times that, even as an adult, how he overcame his own fears and were able to face and handle big changes.
Train them to reach out. Children often wait for other kids to start contact rather than making the first move. Encourage them to smile, say “Hi” to those they know, and properly introduce themselves to the new kids at school. It is quite encouraging to use songs and activities to help them overcome doubt and shyness.
Deal with Your own Feelings
Don’t forget how emotionally attached and linked we are in families. Facing and constructively expressing your own feelings about your child’s shift provides them with a notable model for letting go, and also helps to clear some of your own tension that could otherwise affect them adversely.
Celebrate the Day
How about having a special healthy breakfast and end-of-the-day celebration for their accomplishment? Give yourself a pat on the back as well! You deserve it!