I remember opening my report card with nervous anticipation — all of that hard work throughout the year came down to this moment. What would the results be? I would pour over every letter grade, percentage and comment, soaking it all in. Then my dad would ask to see it. Turns out he was looking for something different. “What did your teacher say about you?” He would ask. The comments were always the most important to him: What kind of person was I? How did I treat others? What did I need to work on?
Questions to Ask Ourselves
Often we spend our time and energy looking for back-to-school deals for our children. We’re checking off the supply list, and eagerly waiting to see who their teacher will be and which friends are in their class. But how much time do we spend preparing their hearts for the person that they will be? Do we even think to talk about the situations and struggles they may encounter and how they can respond? Do we let them know the hardships that we may have had as a child and share what we learned from them? Are we spending more time worried about the right clothes and pencils rather than honourable character in our children?
Here are some conversation starters that can help us all as we prepare our children for back-to-school:
- How do you feel when you have no one to play with? What will you say if you see someone on the playground all alone?
- If you’re playing with your friends and don’t agree with a comment someone makes, what is the kind way to approach it?
- What do you think is most important to mom and dad as you head out into the school year?
- What is something you struggle with? Let’s come up with a plan so we can work on it this year.
- When you are feeling frustrated at school, what is a way that you can deal with it before it gets too difficult?
- Why do you think that some people in the class act out or do mean things? What might be part of their story?
- Do you want to know some of the things that I struggled with when I was your age?
We can also spend time in prayer with our children. Ask them for specific prayer requests and then take time in the weeks leading up to school to pray for the year ahead. Pray that they will see that they are God’s hands and feet to share love and kindness with everyone they meet. Pray that they will feel God’s presence as they head into their classroom and out onto the school yard. Pray that when they feel alone or frustrated, they can remember that He is with them.
And finally, reflect on what we really want for our kids. What are the skills, abilities, and gifts we want to encourage them in? What are the attributes and characteristics we want them to grow in? These are important discussion points! Remember our children are watching and learning from us and they see where we’re placing the most time, attention and effort.
This year, along with purchasing new clothes for the school year, lets help clothe our kids with kindness, love and compassion.