Sunday, August 25, 2013

Back to School

It's that time of year again, for children to head off to school.  For many of us, January 1st is the beginning of the year.  For me, it has always been this time of year, the school year.  You see, my parents were both school teachers, so for us, everything revolved around the school year - and this time of year meant new beginnings.  New faces, new teachers, new friends, new classrooms, new situations to brave.  It can be both fun and difficult at the same time.

As our children were growing up, I found a variety of different efforts to help ease their anxiousness and bring them closer to the one that would ultimately help them when I couldn't, God.  What I find amazing over the years that as the children have gotten older, and school days moves to college years, the efforts are still worth discussing and bringing to light - helping them to a better day.

We always began our days with devotion.  In the beginning, when the children were smaller, we actually had a children's devotion that we used to start our day on the right foot.  It was extremely helpful.  The devotion always ended in prayer - either said by me, but as they got older, the prayers were said by the children.  I learned a lot during that prayer time - they would pray for friends, or friends' families, teachers, situations that they felt were tough to deal with.  I would pray for help with work situations that seemed to be weighing heavy on my mind.  All in all, prayer time became a great part of our day.  It was a sad day for me when I didn't have to take the children to school anymore, I couldn't start our day like that.  Yet, I pray that part of their day finds them going to the Lord in prayer.

I always thought it was important to bring a sense of blessing to our family, in a variety of ways.  It began with the making and using of blessing beads.  Nothing fancy, a piece of yarn with three of four beads on it.  At the end of the day, we would move the beads from one side to the other, sharing things we had been blessed with.  As the children grew older, we especially became fancy for our Thankful Chain.  During the month of November, at dinner time each person would receive a strip of construction paper.  On this they would write something or someone they were thankful for.  We would read them aloud before dinner and make a paper chain.  With six people, you can imagine how long our chains would get.  It was a wonderful reminder of the blessings in our family's life.  Now, thanks to a great friend, we have a blessings jar where we can write pieces of paper and put them in the jar.  When we are all gathered around the table, the jar is opened and the blessings are shared.  All of these have been wonderful ways to share God's goodness.

Yet, we need to remember that there are difficult days as well.  On those very special days, when life seems overwhelming for our children, I would take out a paper plate and some sticky notes.  The children could write all that was bothering them - a lot of homework, a tough situation with friends, maybe even difficulty within our own family unit, and stick them on the plate, trying to decide how much of the problem was taking up "their plate".  We then would take each one off, and try to find some ways to bring some solutions to the problems - always understanding and ending that prayer helps BEST OF ALL!!  God is always in control of all of our problems, and by bringing the problems to Him, he will find a way for us to move forward.  We would then rip the stickies up and throw them away - never to be found again.

Back to school can be tough on all of us.  Our oldest daughter is off on her own now.  Our middle two daughters will be heading off to college soon.  Our youngest son will be entering his junior year in high school.  This time of year can be most most difficult on us parents - realizing that we need devotion time, blessing beads and paper plate nights, too.  The best part is we have a loving God who grants us grace and mercy and just loves us to pieces, helping us with our all "back to school needs".

Here's to Back To School~~  May all who are parents/grandparents/aunts/uncles pray for their children every day - they need it so.  Continue to instruct our children in the ways of the Lord, that they might find His everlasting love.  May all the children out there realize God is watching over them and helping them in everything that they need.

"Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."  (NIV)  Ephesians 6:4  

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Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope we can share how God's grace has been life changing and that SIMPLE FAITH, getting back to a life that is rooted in the basics, can truly set us free to achieve so much in our lives.