Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What To Expect This School Year

As a mom and a teacher, I do look forward to a new school year. Its arrival brings a mixture of excitement about the possibilities and a little fear of the unknown. Even though we can’t anticipate the surprises this year will bring, there are four things that every parent can expect and embrace in order to help our children succeed:  

Successes and failures.
Children will experience both success and failures of varying magnitudes. It is a parent’s responsibility to maintain a big picture perspective. We shouldn’t be too puffed up about successes or too deflated by failures. Failure is often our greatest teacher and motivator. What a blessing a parent can be by coming alongside a child as he experiences the ups and downs of life. In his book Running the Rapids, Dr. Kevin Leman illustrates adolescence as a wild raft ride over white water rapids. School is sure to introduce a few bumps and turns along the ride. A child needs to know that mom and dad are in the raft with him, no matter how rough and crazy the ride becomes.

Teachable moments.
Education is more than learning multiplication tables and interpreting literature. It is preparation for life. Take advantage of every opportunity in your child’s life to mold his life skills and character. God is always loving and faithful in our lives – even through bad teachers, pop quizzes, embarrassing moments, hurt feelings, and playground fights. Pray that your home is a safe haven where you can apply God’s truth to every situation in your child’s life. 

Conflict – among parents, children, teachers, and peers.
Don’t be surprised when you experience it. Conflict is inevitable, but as Christians we have Biblical guidelines and examples to follow in dealing with it. May our children see Jesus in us as we train them to work through conflict with grace and wisdom.

This year will end.
Since a school year is a finite amount of time, it is perfect for setting goals. Think about what amazing things you or your children could accomplish in one school year. Maybe it is breaking a habit or developing a new one. If you begin with the end in mind, it helps you run your days instead of letting your days run you.

So it’s time to gear up for battle and prepare for success. What should my focus be for the school year? Can I really begin with the end in mind and succeed this year? Yes. Here are my favorite 5 P’s: 
  1. Provide peace in your home. 
  2. Pray, plan, prepare, but do not panic when plans fail. 
  3. Prioritize and let some things go. 
  4. People > productivity. 
  5. Problems are merely opportunities for growth

- Susan LaFlam

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