My daughters start a new school year two weeks from today.
I’m trying to live in denial.
We don’t have little kid summers anymore, where you stay home all day and splash around in the plastic kiddie pool in the backyard or blow bubbles and draw with sidewalk chalk or have backyard picnics and afternoon tea parties. Now there are week-long camps or meeting friends at a trampoline park or shopping followed by Starbucks.
And while I’m happy and content in the season we’re in, it just seems to make the summer fly by even faster!
While we’re hitting the back to school sales and looking over the school supply lists, there’s something more I’d like to do to prepare my girls for that first day of school.
This is a new practice for me. I’ve never really thought about advice I want to give my children at the beginning of a particular school year.
A few weeks ago, however, I was listening to Jen Hatmaker on a Focus on the Family podcast and she talked about the three things she and her husband hoped that their kids would learn before they leave home. I thought about what great advice this would be to share with my girls as they head back to the classroom.
1. Be kind. This is applicable at any age, but certainly pertains to girls in middle school and high school. If my girls learn to treat others with respect and to reach out to someone who seems lonely, it will take them a long way in life. Looking to meet the needs of others and being selfless doesn’t often come naturally, so this could be a little encouragement I scribble on their napkins and tuck into their lunch box throughout the school year.
2. Be you. Don’t try to change who you are to fit in with a certain crowd. Accept the way that God made you as original and lovely. If you don’t like sports or reading science fiction, don’t pretend you do. On the other hand, if you like to sew or work on 1,000-piece puzzles, that’s okay, too. I have one daughter who is realizing that friendships change as interests change, and that having something in common with a friend makes for a deeper relationship than just wanting to be with someone who’s popular.
3. Love Jesus. As my 15-year-old said, “Shouldn’t this be first?” I explained that these weren’t listed in order of importance. 🙂 How I want my girls to learn to love Jesus! If they are loving Him, I can rest in knowing that everything else will be okay. Spending time daily in prayer and in God’s Word is key. I also want to make sure they have music available to them that will encourage them in their walk with Him.
These three bits of advice are not only good reminders for my daughters as we gear up for a new school year, but it’s good for me to remember them, too!