3 Prayers for My Children This School Year
This is a big year for me. It marks the official end of my girls’ preschool years and the beginning of a new season in our family’s life.
Tomorrow morning I will send my oldest daughter off to 1st grade, while my second daughter waits until next week to begin Kindergarten. (How in the world did they get big enough for grade school?) It’s hard to believe that our 11-week summer is gone, but I also feel the excitement that accompanies a new year.
There’s a new teacher to impact, new friends to make, new routines to learn, and, most importantly, new spiritual, mental, and emotional lessons to learn. Last year, the most important lesson God taught me was that my children’s schooling was a team effort that should be bathed in daily prayer.
It doesn’t matter if your child is homeschooled or goes to private, public, or charter schools, God wants us, as mothers, to be actively involved in every aspect of their education.
And, it begins with prayer.
As I’ve thought about this coming year and what I want my two girls to accomplish, there are three things that God keeps saying. These three statements aren’t new to our family. Actually, I have my girls repeat them back to me whenever I leave them in their Sunday school class or with their grandparents, and even last year as they went off to school. But, this year, I feel like they are also to be my prayer over and for them. So, tomorrow, when I walk Makaylan to her class, I will ask her: “What are our three things?” And, this will be her answer and my prayer:
Be obedient. God has put everyone under some sort of authority, and I want my children to be people who welcome and not shun that authority. First, I pray that my girls will be obedient to their Heavenly Father. My husband and I desire to teach our children that they are to first obey God. As they get older, they will encounter more difficult temptations. If we only teach them to be obedient when we or a teacher sees them, then we have failed. When they are tempted to cheat on a test, my prayer is they will remember God’s command not to be deceitful (1 Pet. 2:1-3). When they are tempted to look at something unholy, I want them to remember God’s call to holiness (1 Tim. 4:12). When they are tempted to lie to advance their cause, I want them to remember God’s call to truth (Prov. 12:19).
Second, I want them to be obedient to their teachers. I realize this is an obvious and simple prayer, but it is powerful. Every day, teachers have to deal with unruly children. And, I don’t want my girls to be one of them. My prayer is they will be a godly example to their peers and even their teachers. Will they be perfect? No. But, I do pray they will be known for their obedient hearts.
Be kind. Kindness is very different that just being nice. I’ve discovered that “niceness” is dependent mainly on your circumstances, whereas kindness is a state of one’s heart and a product of the Holy Spirit’s work in a person’s life. And, kindness is desperately lacking in our society. Bullying has taken on a form that literally leaves me stunned. I know children who are bullied at school, and I do not want my children to engage in that behavior. Instead, I encourage them to look for people who are sitting by themselves or seem sad and then to include them. When I pick them up in carline, I make it a point to ask them who they befriended or what kind act they did towards another. Many times, it is the simplest act of kindness that makes the biggest impact. It’s my prayer that this year they will grow in their kindness and love towards others.
Have fun, fun, fun. I realize that this may sound trite and maybe counterproductive, but I have recently added this third prayer. Yes, school is a place of learning, but it is also a place for fun. My second daughter, Hannah, is super extroverted, and she needs to know that it’s okay to have fun at school. Too often, I focus on reading, writing, and arithmetic that I lose the importance of social engagement. Hannah’s excitement for school is different than Makaylan’s. She knows that she will get to see her friends EVERY DAY, and that realization motivates her to get out of bed at 6:00 in the morning. This year, I pray that my girls will grow in their understanding and enjoyment of life. There are so many exciting things that happen during the school year, and I want my girls to jump in with both feet.
The first day of school will be here way before I want it, but I know God has a plan and purpose for my girls. I look forward to seeing how He will change them as they encounter difficulty and experience great joys this year. If, at the end of the year, they grow in obedience, kindness, and enjoyment of life, it’s been a successful year.