Encouragement for a new school year

In Feb of last year, I shared some of what I’d learnt from Reggie Joyner’s book ‘Think Orange’. As we head into another school year I’d love to revisit and further explore some of Reggie’s thoughts around the impact church and family can have when we work together to raise kids who love and follow God. Reggie lists 5 things that he believes every kid needs-

A REALLY BIG GOD they can trust no matter what

SOMEONE ELSE who believes what they believe

ANOTHER VOICE saying the same things parents say

UNCOMMON SENSE to help them make wise choices

NOSY PARENTS who know where their kids are spiritually

I love all these points but I want to focus on the second and fifth. Kids need someone else who believes what they believe. Of course, it’s possible to be a Christian on you own, but it’s hard! Do you pray for Godly friends for your children? I meet with a Christian friend for prayer each week and this has been a constant prayer point for us over the many years we have been praying together. We pray for good friends for our kids, for children to stand beside our kids who will encourage and help them to make good choices, to stand up for Christ and for others.

And as parents we can do much to encourage those friendships too, especially when our children are still small. When we see other children being a good influence on our kids, encourage that friendship – have them over for a play after school, get to know their family, provide opportunities for your child to spend time with them. Do what you can to make that friendship blossom.

Children are so easily influenced and swayed by their peers, especially in the teen years. We want our friends to be surrounded by like-minded children who share common values and who will support each other when life gets tough, and their faith is put on the line. Friends who can stand together and be a light for Christ in their world.

And kids need nosy parents who know where their kids are spiritually. I acknowledge that this is a challenge in the busyness of family life. But kids need parents who will be intentional about spending time together as a family and staying actively involved in their children’s spiritual growth. It’s not enough to send your children to a Christian school, or to youth group, or Kids church. There will never be a teacher or ministry leader who will have as much potential to observe what is happening in your child’s life as you, the parent. You are in a unique position to answer questions about where your child is at spiritually and give the guidance needed. The reason for that is simple – time. At Kids church we may have 40 hours in a given year to influence your child. The average parent has 3000 hours per year to influence a life.

No one has more potential to influence your child’s relationship with God than you as parents. That’s a very humbling thought. And let’s be honest, sometimes we are disappointed in ourselves as parents, and feel we fall very short of perfect. But let me encourage you – your role is not to impress your children or anyone else with your ability to parent. Your role is to impress on your children the love and character of God. Don’t ever buy into the myth that you need to become the ‘right’ kind of parent before God can use you in your children’s lives

I pray God’s blessings over you and your family at the start of this new school year.