Well, ‘tis the season for a new school year to begin. Many kids and parents are running around buying last minute school supplies and searching the racks for the right outfit to make an entrance with on the first day!
For some, it’s an exciting time, but for others it is a time of high anxiety and nervousness. That isn’t only for the students, but for the parents as well.
Kids are asking questions in their minds like: “What if I don’t make friends?” or “What if I don’t fit in?” or “What if I’m not smart enough?”
Then, parents are asking similar questions, but some like this: “What if they get picked on?” or “What if I can’t protect them?” or “What if I’m not smart enough to help them?”
There are probably many other questions, but these are a few that I am positive runs through many minds at this time of the year.
So, I want to bring some comfort and encourage parents to share a few things with their kids as school begins this year:
1) YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE THE BEST! - There is always going to be someone smarter, prettier, funnier, etc. than you. You might be number one for a while, but realize that ratings change on a regular basis. Be your best and don’t worry about whether or not you match up to the others because you are you for a reason. PARENTS: Listen to this too! You might look at another kid and think“What did I do wrong?” or another parent and think, “I wish I could be them!” Don’t allow that to flow in your mind. Be confident in your parenting and the child you raised. You won’t be the best parent, but you are trying your best to raise your child the way you know how. Do it with confidence.
2) BE SELF-AWARE: That might be a big concept, but helping your child recognize their flaws or quirks might help them when it comes time someone else points them out. It doesn’t mean make fun of your kid until they cry because “it makes them stronger”, but help them become comfortable in their attributes and growing up. I remember when I realized my earlobes were different. I came to grips with it and I would highlight it as a way to show my differences, but also God’s humor. PARENTS: You too! Be aware of your flaws and weaknesses and be open about them with your child. Help them know it’s alright to admit a weakness, but don’t let it define you!
3) DON’T CONFORM: "Be yourself" is a mantra we say, yet we want kids to fit in with all the other kids. Help your student understand that they should strive to be unique. It is alright to go against the grain, especially if their friends are telling them do or be something that makes them uncomfortable. Encourage them to enjoy life and move with their flow and not the flow of others. This could be something they need to hear in order to shape them into the future leaders of their school and/or workplace. Help your kid to understand their friends don’t define who they are either! PARENTS: Show them how to do this by example. Be who you know you’re created to be. Check your own social groups. Are you changing who you are around others in fear of being judged? Or, do you find yourself being yourself and not worrying about if you fit in? Friends will accept you for who you are, let them deal with their issues, you do you.
4) TRY NEW THINGS: Help your student enjoy and appreciate diversity and change. There might be a new food item on the menu, a new person in school, or a new class offered; tell them to go for it! Trying something new gives them the ability to handle situations in the future. It will help them cope with change and, possibly, help them with relationships as they move into adulthood. PARENTS: Don’t be afraid of new things either. Your kids learn from you. If you are hesitant to accept change or experience new locations or activities, then your kids will be apt to be the same way. You don’t want to miss out on new adventures and you don’t want your child to miss out on new things either.
DISCLAIMER for #4: I understand some kids like to keep more to themselves and that is perfectly fine. However, we should take every opportunity to expose them to new experiences; it’s up to them to accept what we offer.
5) YOU ARE MORE THAN A STUDENT ID: Let your child know they are worth more to you than they might ever know. Let them know that they are worth more to their school than they might ever know. They have a role to play beyond their seat and locker. They have a name and are identified as children of God. He wants them to play a part in His story while walking the halls or sitting in a classroom. Help them know, that when they serve and love others, they are more than a student id. They have a name that is known by their peers. Help them to know their self-worth, purpose, and potential through Jesus to make a difference in the lives of their classmates, teachers, and more. Parents: You do too! You are worth so much more. You are more than a parent; you are an inspirer, and encourager, a motivator, a friend, an empower-er (I made that word), and much more. Your role is vital and I want you to know you are appreciated by me and your student.
This list could go longer, but I won’t write anymore. Think about these things and maybe, just maybe, use them. It could change the life of your kid, but also their peers.
I would love to hear if any of these influence you or your child as the year progresses.
Peace and blessing friends. Happy new school year!
QUESTION: What is your fondest school memory?