New shoes, new backpacks, new teachers—same attitude? Most kids are excited about returning to school, even if they don’t want to admit it. Each year has a unique set of accomplishments and challenges. Back to school means back to carpooling, schedule managing, social training, academic motivating, and not enough sleeping. It also means a certain degree of worrying. Will he like his teacher? Will the other girls include her? Will he try harder this year? Will he be in trouble again? Every year provides something new to worry about.
First, don’t worry until October. Kids are amazingly skillful at working things out themselves. Try to stay out of their way, and out of the teacher’s way until after the first quarter. Chances are, whatever you were worried about will be resolved by second quarter.
Second, pray about how “involved” you should be. Our kids want to see you up at school, but after second grade, they probably don’t want to see you that often. Allow them to develop their own circles, even if you had hoped for a different one.
Third, (and I wished I had learned this one sooner), offer suggestions carefully. Most parents think they know what is best, but don’t underestimate your child’s ability to actually know what’s best. I think I was right about fifty percent of the time, and I might be trying to make myself feel better with that percentage. The rest of the time, I was just making my kids think I didn’t trust them enough.
Fourth, treasure these crazy, precious years. They do go by quickly. If you question that, look at a first grader and then look at a fifth grader. That is what five years looks like.
And finally, take a moment to realize that while so many things matter right now, Jesus still matters most. Will you find time in the coming weeks to pray for things like teachers, friendships, academics, and remember that spiritual success is the most important success your child can achieve. In fact, spiritual success is the best way to accomplish all the others.
A word from the Apostle Paul for back-to-school:
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.. (Philippians 4:6–7).
Don’t worry. God’s got this!