School in the fall.
The one decision I had been dreading and anticipating all at the same time.
I love having my kids home, but this momma heart also rejoices at the opportunities school offers and the fun memories created with their friends and the activities.
First came the canceling of show choir. I teared up and both girls’ shoulders just slumped as they voiced, “well that’s it. School is going to stink this year.”
Then came the email about only going back at 50%. This was met with tears and the realization that only half their friends would be in the building at the same time. Soon followed by requests to transfer to a private school so they could just go back to normal.
The disappointments weren’t small and will be felt by their souls for a long time, but as I watched them struggle, I realized the person who needed to step up a bit in this situation was me. This school year and this entire season of life is just a backdrop for reality that I can either use to increase dependence on God or I can waste and complain right along with them.
I quickly decided I didn’t want to waste the opportunity God was giving me through the pandemic. Preparing for school suddenly meant way more than simply buying a back to school outfit and school supplies.
One Simple Way to Not Waste COVID While Preparing for School:
I first had a conversation with my husband discussing what the kids were saying and feeling. We both decided we needed to step in quickly to help their hearts not become bitter and angry. Bitterness and anger destroy and that’s the last thing we want for our children. So we called a family meeting around the kitchen table. Had every kid bring a laptop, and we started a conversation designed around preparing for school.
First, paint a picture with your words
In an effort to raise our eyes off our own circumstances and see a bigger picture, I decided to begin to paint a picture of what those in authority were experiencing. We opened the 27 page document full of all the plans for the school year and talked through the big statements.
At one point my husband stated, “now that’s good copy. Do you see how they wrote that? By stating they are following the CDC guidelines and having just said implementing social distancing, they are saying you won’t have to wear masks all day long.” We then talked through how hard it probably was to come up with a politically correct way to write your plan so you didn’t get tons of hate mail.
The whole point was for them to begin to imagine life for those trying to make decisions. By putting ourselves in their shoes, we create sympathy and the ability to believe the best… a skill our kids will need in order to succeed in life.
Most likely your children will have a boss or teacher he/she does not like or understand at some point in life. Our natural gut reaction is to complain, quit, or fight against the authority with which we disagree.
The Bible never agrees with this stance however. Instead, Romans 13:1 states, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”
In other words, remember, God is the ultimate authority. He has things under control. Which means rebelling and refusing to submit to the authority he has allowed in your life is not what he desires.
In fact, Hebrews 13:17 takes it one step further and states, “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.”
Ultimately, when our kids realize those in authority over them have been allowed there by God AND those in authority are also accountable to God, the need to fight against authority can be lessened in our kids lives.
This isn’t to say you don’t teach them how to advocate and use their voice. But using your voice to advocate for change is different than fighting against authority. Ultimately, if you teach them to despise the authority over them during this season, it will carry into eventually despising the authority of God in their life later on. Submitting to authority is a life-long skill that will take our children far in life.
Practically how do you do this?
Let them express everything they don’t like. Things being canceled? School looking different? Needing to wear masks? Smaller class sizes? Whatever it is that has made them upset, let them vocalize it to you. Validate their feelings and then help them realize that because we aren’t in charge, we don’t get to make those decisions and our job is to trust those God has allowed to be in charge. As long as the authority isn’t leading us into sin, we are to submit and follow. Don’t be scared to admit how hard it is for you at times. But also be quick to point out when God has blessed you for your obedience in this area. Give them a bigger vision for authority than what their adolescent brain will naturally believe.
After all the talking is done, get super practical.
If your kids are old enough, have them google and write down the names of the administration at their school building. Most of the time, the school district will put a picture of the administrator next to his/her name so your child can see a face as well.
Then, talk through each name with your child. What might this person be feeling this weekend? How many hours do you think this administrator is working a week to get ready for all these changes? Do you think he/she was able to take a vacation this summer or is the job too demanding trying to meet everyone’s needs? But throughout the conversation, make sure you mention the administrator’s by name. They are real people with a real life. Giving them a name helps take them from an abstract person trying to ruin your life to a real person doing the best he/she can.
Next, have each child pray aloud for the administrators in his/her building. Give them things to think about if praying aloud is intimidating for your child. The prayer doesn’t have to be long. Just name the administrator and ask God to watch over him/her and give wisdom and understanding.
Emphasis that praying is the most important part of preparing for school this year.
Rinse and Repeat Daily
Why is this important?
Life is never going to be all butterflies and candy. COVID may be annoying, horrible, constricting, unfair, and all the other negative emotions on a large scale, but your child will experience all the hardships of COVID on a smaller more personal scale at some point in life.
As parents, we can either use this unique opportunity to teach our children how to press into and trust God when life is confusing or to turn our backs and trust in our own understanding. How you handle this hardship will develop the same habit in your child.
Simply taking some time to imagine life for those in authority and create sympathy, understand what submitting to authority should entail, and praying will teach your child better life skills than an entire year of regular school.
Don’t waste this perfect time in history. Use the time you spend preparing for school to train and point your child’s heart to God.
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