Wednesday, August 6, 2014

"BACK TO SCHOOL CHATS"~ from Guest Writer Holly Shivers


What just happened? How is it time for school to start? A whirlwind of swimming, road trips, sunshine, popsicles, lazy days and here we are…talking about backpacks again. While you prepare your kids for school and all that entails, may I suggest some spiritual preparation as well? Below, you will find three intentional conversations to have with your munchkins before the first day of school comes knocking. There are some questions to get everyone talking, some scriptures to point the way, and some “what if” scenarios to get you all thinking. Your personal “parent to child” interaction will have way more impact than anything they will read or hear elsewhere. Do it around the dinner table, when you are out for ice cream, or when you have a captive audience tucked in tight. Have fun and get talking!

Convo #1: Choosing friends
What kinds of things do you look for in a friend?
Who is your best friend at school, and why?
What kinds of things would you not want to find in a friend?
Why is it important to pick the right friends?

*Proverbs 13:20: “Whoever spends time with wise people will become wise. But whoever makes friends with fools will suffer.”(ICB)
*Psalm 1:1-3: ‘Happy is the person who doesn’t listen to the wicked. He doesn’t go where sinners go. He doesn’t do what bad people do. He loves the Lord’s teachings. He thinks about those teachings day and night. He is strong, like a tree planted by a river. It produces fruit in season. Its leaves don’t die. Everything he does will succeed.” (ICB)
*1 Corinthians 15:33: “Do not be fooled: Bad friends will ruin good habits.” (ICB)
**{Discuss the balance between choosing friends wisely and not shutting yourself out from kids who are not just like you…and may need you to help show them the way!}

Scenario: Your teacher asks you to pick a partner you will work with in Math class all year. You will be spending a lot of time with this person! Can you think of a person you would choose? Why did you pick that person? (Answers might include: positive influence, kind to others, works hard, does not have many friends, etc)

Convo #2: Best effort
Why is learning important?
Does school really matter?
Why do we need to work hard?
What does it mean to “do your best?”

*Colossians 3:23: “In all the work you are doing, work the best you can. Work as if you were working for the Lord, not for men.” (ICB)
*1 Corinthians 9:24: “You know that in a race all the runners run. But only one gets the prize. So run like that. Run to win!” (ICB)
*Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ because He gives me strength.”(ICB)

Scenario: On the first day of school, your teacher asks you to think of a goal you can strive toward academically this year. What is yours? How will you reach it?

Convo #3: “Jesus Eyes”
What are “Jesus eyes?” 
{“Jesus eyes” are eyes that see people as Jesus sees them. They look for that one person who needs a kind word, or to be included. They stop what they are doing to help others and they notice when someone is feeling down. Jesus eyes are not always focused on themselves, but they find opportunities to make someone’s day better.}

What does it feel like to not have a friend?
Can you think of a time when you felt alone at school? Did anyone make you feel better?
Why do we need to serve and think about others?

*Galatians 6:2: “Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you truly obey the law of Christ.” (ICB)
*Psalm 41:1: “Blessed are those who have regard for the weak: the Lord delivers them in times of trouble.” (NIV)
*1 John 3:18: “My children, our love should not be only words and talk. Our love must be true love. And we should show that love by what we do.” (ICB)

Scenario: You finally made it through the lunch line when you look up and see all of your friends waiting for you at a table with only one seat left. Behind you is a boy who is brand new to the school and does not know anyone. You realize if you take the seat with your friends and classmates, he will be stuck sitting at a table alone with the teacher. What do you do? Besides giving him your seat, can you think of some other things you could do? 

Let’s pray that through the power of the Holy Spirit, our kids choose wisely, work hard and see with those “Jesus eyes” as this new year unfolds!

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