schooltime parenting

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

This week I'm starting to worry think about the start of school this year. Our district is undergoing a restructuring, so both of my oldest children will be at different schools. Likely with different teachers, likely with different kids. It's not at all representative of what I loved about our school district. I'm concerned about how we actually maintain focus in our own local communities and neighborhoods with our kids being bussed all over the district and mixed with all the other neighborhoods in our district. It's not that I mind the rest of the district at all; it's just that we moved to a specific area with a specific family goal in mind. It will require us to be much more intentional about maintaining contact and ties in our home neighborhood. I am stressed about how this will occur.

Basically, I'm just thinking through all of the things we've done to prepare our kids for school, and I'm worried that I'm not preparing them correctly for this next big change in their lives. It seemed easier when it was a small neighborhood, family-based school. When it's local, I know the kids. I know the families. I know which kids have parents who are using, which kids are homeless, which kids are going through a family break-up. That knowledge is going to be much more limited this next year. So, am I hitting the right talking points with them? Am I teaching them the skills they need to make it in a school where they're not already 'known'? I know we would have dealt with this when they moved up to middle school, but they're not that old yet. Maggie, especially, takes quite awhile to adjust to change. I'm worried about how it's going to go.

All of that, plus I'm still making sure that I'm equipping them adequately for the outside world. We, as a family, are very passionate about public school, but it does require us to work harder at certain things than if we were keeping our kids at home. Our family philosophy is not that we are just preparing our kids for adulthood when they will serve God and be a part of his story and go out into the world to minister to others. They are already doing all of those things. They are not people God will use in the future. God is using them right now. Today. Every day.

I need my kids to know, every single day, that they are going out of this house with purpose. They have an essential part to play in God's story, and I have to make sure that I'm continually filling their heads and their hearts with that knowledge. Not only that, but I also need to help them learn the skills that they need to navigate the world. To minister to the kids they come into contact with. To conduct themselves with dignity, respect, compassion, and grace. To communicate truth when the opportunity arises. To be a light to those around them. It's a tall order, but it's one that they can fulfill. Not that they don't ever screw up, but overall, they remember who they are, whose they are, and they live their lives with little kid integrity.

The next few weeks are going to be school-prep heavy in our household. Supplies, clothes, schedules...yes, but more importantly, there will be spiritual prep. Much discussion. Much scripture. Much prayer. We're going to start this school year with clear eyes and full hearts. Can't lose. (I know, I know, I couldn't resist. I just miss that show.)

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