With the new school year beginning, here are some tips to help parents and their children in the months ahead. . . .
1. Pray regularly for your children's teachers.
Praying for your children's teachers may sound like a standard piece of advice, but I recommend that you be very intentional in your prayers. Make a list of your children's teachers, school principals, and other adults in their lives. Put this list in a place where you will be reminded daily to pray for them. Here's the key: Ask God how He wants to use you to be a godly influence in their lives this school year. Then, watch for the doors He opens!
2. Bless the teacher with an encouraging note.
Even within the first few days or weeks of the school year you can find something the teachers are doing that you appreciate. It may be something your children enjoyed learning, it may be the way the teachers decorated their rooms, it may be a classroom activity that you think is a great idea. Let them know by writing a brief note of appreciation and encouragement.
3. Teach your children discernment.
Help your children learn to think critically about what they are learning instead of merely absorbing it. Predict what they may learn and pre-teach your perspective on the topic. You can do this by reading their textbooks and talking to them about any questions you may have about the author's bias. This will help them become active listeners and discerning thinkers. Over dinner, ask them if they detected any bias in how the topic was taught that day.
4. Inform your children of their freedom of religious expression at school.
Your children can express their faith in their homework and share about their faith with classmates. For a list of their religious liberties, click here.
5. Encourage your children to pray each morning at school.
In 19 states, schools are REQUIRED to start the day with a moment of silence. In an additional 16 states, schools have the option to do so. Even if your state doesn't have a moment of silence law, you can download a beautiful prayer and give it to your children to pray each day. Click here for a list of all the states with laws regarding moments of silence.
6. Be an encouragement to Christian teachers at school.
If you know a teacher at your children's school who is a Christian, get a map of the campus from the school office, and meet with that teacher. On the map, ask the teacher to circle the names of other Christian teachers he or she knows. During the school year look for opportunities to connect with those teachers and give them encouraging information about how they can address religious holidays, their students' religious liberties, and helpful articles from the Gateways to Better Education website.
May you and your children be used by God to bless others this year at school.
Eric Buehrer is founder and president of Gateways to Better Education. This blog post is adapted from GTBE's latest e-newsletter, which you can subscribe to at this link.