Backpacks and Sharpened Pencils Ready!

My children are grown. They have their own homes, drive automobiles with insurance they pay themselves, out of college, and pay their own bills. (Who can give me a Hallelujah!) My life is filled with grandchildren who are such a pleasure to have. And while I’d like to say back to school days are behind me, I can’t help but get excited by the backpacks, three ring binders, and sharpened pencil aisles at Walmart.

We are days away from the start of a new year. For some, it is the beginning of a long educational process and for others it is the last year before college or career. The new school year comes with excitement, yes, but there is also a sense of dread. Dread for those mornings where yelling becomes the norm…dread for those feelings of inadequacy as a parent and as a student…and dread of something new and different.

Over the years Connie and I have learned a few things. Here are 10 Tips to make this year count.

  1. Tell the World to Wait. Every morning commit to connecting with God. There isn’t a better way to start your day and the day of your children than in prayer. Put searching for the soccer shoes and filling the lunch bags on hold and reach out to God. Let Him be the power behind each day.
  2. Stretch. Before your feet hit the ground, give your body a much needed stretch. Encourage your children to do the same. Something I noticed about my grandchildren that I hadn’t noticed in my children is babies stretch. After every nap, they take time to extend their arms and legs. There must be something to it.
  3. Let in the Light. Open your curtains – the porch door – let God’s light flow into your home. Have breakfast on the patio if you can. Light fills us with a joyful heart.
  4. Choices Zero. Start your morning the night before. My wife, Connie, and I learned to choose the kids’ clothes the night before; what we would have for breakfast; make the lunches; gather all the after-school activities’ equipment; and make sure all homework is done and printed out the night before. Mornings should not be about choices and decisions, but about moving smoothly through the motions.
  5. Music soothes the savage beast. And for that matter, the savage morning rush. Fill your home with Christian music. Wake up to the sounds of Praise and Worship to God.
  6. Connect, connect, connect. Listen to your children as they discuss their day. Put away your cell phone. The office can wait. If your child has a test or is nervous about making friends, reassure them that the day will be a good one. Encourage them and always follow up when they have trusted you with their feelings.
  7. Good Words. The ride to school should be filled with positive words of affirmation. Yelling and screaming makes the stress level unbearable and everyone’s day grouchy. Your child will enjoy the school day and so will you if you make the transition from home to school pleasant.
  8. HugsDo not forget one of the most important aspects of parenting – hugs and kisses. Even if they are 15 years old and want you to drop them off 7 blocks from school – never forget to touch your child in a loving manner.
  9. GratitudeOn the way to school or around the breakfast table, have each person say three things for which they are thankful. Say words of affirmation for a positive day, even if it is as simple as, “I am going to have a really great day!”
  10. Start the Morning without Social Media. Leave Social Media out of the equation. Focus on God, your family, positive words, positive energy, and gratitude. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snap Chat can simply wait.

Put on your new self and start the year off right. Make this school year the best one yet!

Ephesians 4:22-24, “22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”


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