We equip our children with school supplies, backpacks, and school clothes. They have the required equipment, but how can we equip their attitudes? How can we actually prepare them for the year ahead? How can we help our children find the delight in learning? Are there things we can do to help our children succeed that may hold far greater importance than the items we bought?
The love (or hate) of school is something we can influence. Our children pick up messages from us, from friends, from society about what their days will hold. They learn what to think, what to believe, how to feel about it all by the situations in which they sit. As parents, we have the loudest voice. What we tell our children will color their view and what we think about school ourselves will be caught by our kids.
Beginning today, we can choose our words carefully and evaluate the messages we are sending and make a conscious effort to lead our children well. And then, after choosing what we want to teach our kids, hold tight to these messages all year long. With careful planning, we can foster success.
Here are some messages we must replace:
- “My kids hate school.” Your children hear this and it gives them permission to do just that! What an awful thing to face nine months of any event that you hate! What happens if we speak positively about school itself? There are, after all, teachers in your child’s building who are working day and night to make this a great experience. Try replacing this message with: We love our school! Affirm the work of those educators and point out the good. And if you do not love your school, what can you do about that? Is there a way to be involved? Can you encourage those who are working hard? Can you see the good and send a note so that the good is replicated by that encouragement?
- “My kids hate reading.” If these words are in your head or flow from your mouth, please remove them entirely today! This generation of children cannot afford to hate reading! In fact, they must not only learn to read, they must learn to LOVE reading. And as parents, we must find the path that leads them there! It is possible and it is necessary. We must change reading from a homework task to an enjoyable activity and that change must come from home. When you think about teaching a child to love reading, assigned passages are no longer an item on a to-do list but are, instead, something to savor. Read aloud, take turns, explore new books, explore books your children like, and work to discover what your children enjoy. We cannot give up until we find them picking up books all on their own. Try replacing this statement with: My kids are learning to love reading. And then make that a reality. In doing so, you will set your children up for success.
- “School is boring.” This message is offered frequently to our kids. Is this what we want them to believe? What if we remind them instead that God has created an amazing world and school offers them an opportunity to learn more about that? It was not His intention that we cease to find wonder in all He has done. God reveled in creating and wants His children to do the same. Everything, from numbers to nouns, is a part of this world and shows the creativity of our God. If you take an interest in what your children are learning, they will begin to do the same. And if you encourage them to pay close attention in class, take notes, hunt for the incredible in what is being taught, they will find that there is so much to learn and soak up and enjoy. We want to foster in our children a life-long love for learning. So, replace this message with a powerful question: What did you learn today? Ask about specific subjects and then show your enthusiasm for what they are being taught.
Decide to help your children succeed by approaching school in a way that is positive and fun. Support them and their teachers in making this year the best that it can be. Ephesians 4:29 instructs, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” As we guard our words and our thoughts our children might catch from us enthusiasm for school and also discover the joy of learning. By speaking encouragement, we are making learning fun and teaching our children that school is less about preparing for tests and more about delighting in God’s world. Learning is a lifelong blessing so equip your children discover the joy.