Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Best Lesson We Can Teach Our Kids At The End Of The School Year

The time from Easter to the end of the school year is always a struggle for me. After Easter, I’m ready for school to be over and for summer to start. And with Easter coming so late this year, I think it’s marked a new all-time low.

I’m tired.

Are you?

Getting out of bed each morning is getting harder for our family. Keeping up with all the correspondence, homework, and projects from school is overwhelming. And managing all their schedules?

It feels impossible.

On top of the daily grind, three weeks ago, our family lost a dear friend. The transmission blew up in one of our cars. And I changed careers.

It’s been a lot. A mixture of good and hard, enough to spin our lives a bit out of orbit. 

I know you’ve been there.

The other day, we were driving from one activity to another, discussing makeup work the kids needed to complete. Tensions were high and voices were higher, and before I knew it, two out of our three kids were crying.

It occurred to me…

The end of the school year is always hard for me, even with over 42 years of life experience to help me manage it. How much harder might it be for kids at the ripe old ages of 6, 9, and 12?

For families with kids in school, opportunities for extending mercy and compassion to one another abound this time of year, that’s for sure!  

On the one hand, the thought of how tired they must be made me want to scoop them into my arms, tell them to forget the makeup work, crawl into our king-sized bed, and pull the covers over our eyes.

But on the other hand, I realized every year this season presents a huge opportunity for learning:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,"  Hebrews 12:1.
Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

God desires for us to finish well.  

And God has this desire because He knows that suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope.

“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."  Romans 5:3-5.

God will use the end of the race to refine whatever it is within our spirits that makes finishing well a challenge. For me, it’s my lack of patience and discipline when I’m tired, my fear of failure, and my all or nothing perfectionist tendencies. For my kids, it’s altogether different things.

But for each of us, the end of the race is an opportunity for refinement and growth.

Yes, the end of the school year will present countless opportunities for us to extend mercy and compassion to our children. And we should be about that business. But we should also use the end of the school year to teach our children how to finish well, even when we don’t feel like it.

So with 31 days of school left (not that I’m counting), we have a choice:

We can throw in the towel.

Or we can rally the troops.

Throwing in the towel will be easier in the short-term, but a rally will teach a host of lasting lessons to our kids.

As I’ve considered what this looks like for our family in the coming days, I’ve decided it’s time to get back to some basics we’ve let slide over the last few months: getting up and going to bed a few minutes earlier, packing lunches and backpacks the night before, daily sitting down to discuss homework and other responsibilities, and keeping the calendar clear of unnecessary commitments.

It’s also critical that we maintain our good routine of family devotionals and prayer first thing in the morning. Because starting well helps us finish well, right?

What about you? Do you feel like giving up but know you’ll be missing a valuable opportunity to teach your kids if you do? If so, what will your strategy be in the coming weeks to help your family finish this school year well? 

We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

No comments:

Post a Comment