by April Martin
PLYMOUTH, MI – September in Michigan is one of my favorite times of the year. The remnants of summer still linger, but the glow of fall begins to surround us. Storefronts filled with golds, browns, and oranges that entice us to begin decorating our homes for fall. Coffee shops begin promoting spiced lattes and all things pumpkin line the store shelves. Yet, as much as I love this transition of seasons, it is also paired with one of the most potentially stressful times of the year for both kids and parents - the return to school!
As parents, it is easy to get overwhelmed with the “to-do” list that back to school brings. Gone are the days of a new Scooby Doo lunch box and a pack of sharpened #2 pencils. Now it is Clorox wipes, classroom supplies, new clothes, expo markers, Kleenex and so many other specific items we spend time searching for. We run from store to store trying to secure the best deals as we slowly check off each box to have our kids 'prepared’ for a great school year.
What if getting our children prepared for the school year was less about the school issued supply list? What if it has little to do with the most popular brand of shoes or cutest pencil pouch? What if it isn’t about a checklist at all, but an intentional time investment we make as parents to prepare them spiritually and emotionally for transitioning back into the school year.
This year, let’s do it differently. Instead of falling prey to the checklist, let’s purposely PRAY with our kids! Involving them in the process as we ask God to guide the school year. Start a family school-year prayer journal. Use a prayer jar where they can add requests that as a family you’ll pray for each week. There are even family prayer apps now that can help guide you in the process of praying as a family! There are so many tools but let’s start with a simple way to make this a great school year:
PRAY SPECIFICALLY FOR THE NEEDS THEY VOICE:
So, let’s walk this out. What is the best way to know how to pray specifically for your children? By asking them! Even my teenage children want to share what they are feeling about the upcoming school year. We just need to know how to ask the right questions and LISTEN when they share!
What are they most excited about?
What do they think will be their favorite subject/activity of this year?
What do they think will be their biggest challenge?
What do they think will help them be the most successful in the classroom?
Is there anything that they are worried about?
PRAY SPECIFICALLY FOR THE NEEDS THEY DON’T VOICE:
There are challenges our kids will face regardless if they know it or not. As parents, let’s be faithful to pray for these things as well.
Pray for their Hearts: That they will come to know Christ and grow in relationship with Him. (3 John 1:4)
Pray for their Character: That they will make good choices and show integrity. (Luke 2:52)
Pray for their Friendships: Good solid friendships can play a major role in your child's school experience.
Pray that God will bring the right friends into your child’s life. (Proverbs 12:26)
Our kids need us more than they need the “stuff” that comes with a new school year. They need our attention, our focus and our time. Before we allow ourselves to drown in the details - let's decide to draw close to our Savior and make prayer our priority to be prepared for this school year.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
April Martin is the Director of Children’s Ministries at Mile City Church. She is a mom of three super cool teenagers, history nerd, podcast junkie and adores local coffee shops. Her heart and passion is helping parents authentically lead their families towards Christ.