Investing spiritually in back to school
PLYMOUTH – This year we have a college sophomore, a high school sophomore and a high school junior heading back to class. Gone are the years of the matching backpacks and lunch boxes. Crayola markers have been replaced with ipad cases and $12 mechanical pencils! Don’t even get me started on how much we’ve spent on clothes and shoes for three teens!
Our budget reflects this season and we are not alone. The National Federation of Retailers released their projections for back to school spending for 2023 at 41.5 billion dollars in the US. That is more than every national holiday except Christmas. Let that sink in! Back to school is a BIG deal and whether you have a college student or a second grader, you are feeling the pinch.
Preparing our children for the school year with supplies is important, and a great way to care for and prepare your children for a successful school year. But is there something we should be focusing on even more? Absolutely. Regardless if you homeschool or are sending your kids back to public, private or college - there are some ways that we as parents can invest in our kids' hearts all year long.
3 Simple (and free!) Ways to Spiritually Invest in Our Kids:
1. PRAY: No, REALLY pray.
Pray for God’s leading in every area of their school life. Pray for protection and wisdom. Pray that God will give you sensitivities to know when you need to step in, and when your child has to “grow” through a situation. Pray for their friendships, their teachers and coaches, and their God-given gifts to shine. Pray with your kids on the way to and from school. Send teens or college kids your prayers for them via text message or instagram DMs. Get creative! Our kids need to know that we believe that prayer is important and powerful. It truly reflects our own faith in God.
As Christian parents we cannot be complacent with our children and their exploration of who God is. Make worship, Bible study and spiritual conversations part of your family rhythm and daily expectation. This does not have to feel awkward. Worship music in the car, scripture memorization challenges, recapping the Sunday sermons. Put verses on sticky notes on your kids bathroom mirrors and instead of vain affirmations - give them God’s affirmations. Spend time together talking about what you see God doing in your lives and home. Your faith should be seen every weekday, not just Sundays! Keeping faith real in your home helps equip our kids to keep their faith real at school too!
Spiritual check-ins should be part of authentic family conversations in a Christian home. We ask our kids if they are brushing their teeth, taking their vitamins and finishing their homework so why would we not incorporate check-ins with their walk with God? For some, they may not even have a relationship with Jesus yet, but that should not deter us. This is even modeled by Jesus who is recorded as having asked 307 questions in the Gospels alone.
Questions help kids to critically think and allow us to have a peek into their thoughts. Ask the hard questions and help your child navigate the answers through the Scriptures. Trouble with a classmate? Facing temptation? Struggling with faith? What does God have to say about that? By checking in spiritually with your kids you are showing them that trusting God matters. Placing a higher importance on checking in on those straight A’s will never matter more than a student learning to follow after Jesus.
Want your children to have a good school year? Keep pursuing their hearts! Pray for them, equip them and purposefully check-in with them, always pointing them back to Jesus.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
April is a Pastor's wife and a mom of three in Plymouth, MI. She directs the Children's Ministries at Mile City church and enjoys every crazy second of it! She loves giving gifts, hosting people in her home, podcasts and learning new skills! (Currently learning to can fruits and veggies!)