Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge. Proverbs 23:12
I have a LOVE/HATE relationship with the whole “back to school” thing. I LOVE that my kids have the opportunity to grow and learn under the guidance of some pretty amazing teachers. I HATE that summer break is over. I LOVE that my kiddos are social butterflies…it’s good for them to be with their friends in the classroom and it takes the pressure off my role as “entertainment director.” I HATE that we have to wake up early. I LOVE having the house to myself for a few hours a day…and I HATE having the house to myself a few hours a day…you get the picture. So this morning as my daughter was packing up for her first day of 5th grade…something tripped my panic button hard–this wasn’t just the first day of 5th grade…no…, this was the first day of her last year in elementary school! I HATE the panic button 😦
As luck would have it (I’m saying this sarcastically,) we walked to school this morning…thus giving me plenty of time to think and let the panic button go to work. Was she prepared? Was she nervous? Would this be a good year? What really makes a school year good? It wasn’t long before my panic attack became a full blown list of “did I tell her….?” So for my sanity (because this “back to school” thing is all about me,) I’ve come up with a few thoughts to share with her (after school, of course.)
- School is about learning. Sure you go there to learn the “school” stuff, but you will learn so much more. You’ll learn about yourself. Each day you’ll grow in discovering who you are, what you stand for, and all that you’re capable of accomplishing. You’ll find out what you like and what you don’t like (and you just might be surprised how the categories break down!)
- No one said you have to know everything…so give yourself a break. Some things will come easily. Other things will make you work (hard.) Both are good.
- Relationships are tough, but worthwhile. Getting to know a new teacher will take time. Building friendships take time. Discovering who to avoid…well, that takes time, too. Not everyone will like you and you probably won’t like everyone. Either way, be kind. You never know what someone else is going through. If you want a friend, be a friend. It is far better to be remembered for being a “good guy” than a total jerk.
- Pay attention. Learning requires focus. Don’t assume anything. Ask questions. It’s okay not to get it the first time. Practice, preparation and performance are related. Don’t get behind. If you need help, say something.
- Trust your instincts. God gives us that little voice for a reason. Tune your ears and your heart to it. Remember that peer pressure can be a trap. Comparing yourself to others is never a good idea.
- Think before you speak. Words can hurt. Offer grace and understanding at every turn. Compassion for others goes a long way. Be a helper.
- Even good kids make mistakes. You’re not perfect, none of us are. Making mistakes goes beyond the classroom. You know where I stand on drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, etc. Likewise, you should realize that lying, cheating, and disrespect will also not be tolerated. At the same time, I love you and together we can work through anything.
- It’s okay to pray at school. I’m not telling you to get on the loud speaker and lead a revival, but don’t be afraid to ask God to guide you throughout your day.
- School is your job right now. As your mother, I will be on you to do your homework, study for tests and remind you not to take short cuts. This is important for you now and in the future, but school performance is not the sum of your worth.
- Attitude is everything. You get what you give. You will have bad days. Life is unfair. How you navigate through the good and the bad says a lot about your character. You can do this. I believe in you no matter what.
So my LOVE/HATE relationship with this time of year continues. I LOVE that I have the opportunity to share these thoughts with my daughter. I HATE that she’s growing up so fast. I LOVE watching my kiddos move forward on this journey toward adulthood. I HATE that tomorrow morning my son will have his first day of eighth grade. I can hear the panic button gearing up now….
Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education. Martin Luther King, Jr.