Today, we have the second installment on Discipling the Public Schooled Kid…And my friend Amanda Berner, has 6 more great tips! If you missed her first blog post with tips 1-6, you can find them here.
But without further ado, here’s the second half…
#7 Get involved at the school.
Actual presence at your child’s school will vary based on job and ministry responsibilities, or smaller children in tow—but as much as possible, get involved.
Know your child’s teacher, pray for them, encourage them with notes and gifts, and work to build a relationship with them. If they are a believer, praise God and continue to encourage them. If they are not, pray for them all the more. Be a good ambassador of Jesus, and show your kids what it looks like to love non-Christians and represent Jesus well.
#8 Use the breakfast table (or dinner table).
Whichever meal makes most sense, utilize it intentionally. Read about meaningful topics that interest your kids or study what you know is coming in their curriculum from a biblical worldview.
So many resources exist that cover topics like creation, the attributes of God, right choices, the human body, relationships, holidays, and so much more. Also, a great many conversations can launch from a biography of a church father or a classic story like Pilgrim’s Progress. All that to say, use meal time.
#9 Teach respect for authority, always.
Your child will listen closely to what you say about their teacher and it will affect their perspective. Rather than setting a negative tone, teach your child to recognize the authority that God has given their teacher in the classroom.
It is essential that they understand that it’s not a student’s place to argue with their teacher or try to prove them wrong. Their role is to listen and learn. And to come to you if what they are learning is not biblical (which will come about naturally if you are “asking good questions” and “using meal time”).
#10 Help your kids be a light.
Even when your child is not saved, they can be a light for Jesus. They know the truth, they can speak about it, they can seek to live out biblical principles, and they can point people to God’s truth. Help them do this wisely.
No doubt, many bold children from Christian families have spoken like a soap-box preacher on the playground. And praise the Lord for kids who are learning the truth and understand it’s importance…but often times our kids need to learn how to speak with truth and love. So walk through different scenarios with your kids, show them a gracious and kind way to take on the role of an apologist.
And without a doubt, put an emphasis on inviting other kids to church! What a win when the whole family ends up walking through the church doors because of a simple sweet invite from a child.
#11 Don’t freak out.
At some point your child will probably come home and tell you something that makes you want to totally freak out. Maybe it’s something the teacher said, or the way a kid treated them, or perhaps some inappropriate playground talk. Whatever it is, stay calm. Things you don’t like are bound to happen, but freaking out does no good — for a few reasons:
First of all, you want to teach your child you trust God in all things, even when unfortunate events occur. Second, you want to show your child that they can come to you with anything — and there may come a time when they will be detoured if they think you will overreact. And third, the situation is usually not dire in that instant. Especially if your child is talking to you about it, there is likely to be more learning than detriment that will arise from this situation.
Remember to start by just listening to your child. Calmly ask clarifying questions, and then you can take some time to determine a good response. Especially as my children are getting older, I’m learning I need to be comfortable talking about anything. I want to be age appropriate, of course, but I know I need to be ready to handle any topic that comes home with an unnatural calmness.
All that to say, don’t be a freaker-outer.
12. Pray a lot.
Pray for your child in front of your child and make your requests specific. They will understand the importance of prayer by watching your example. When those specific prayer requests are answered, you can rejoice together or talk through the disappointment.
In the end, we can pour ourselves out to disciple our kids, but, only God can change your child’s heart — which means each day we must start and continue with prayer. But how great it is to know that our kids are in God’s hands. so we disciple, and we work hard at it; but most of all, we pray for God to do the work that only he can do.
….Next we will be exploring the topic of Discipling the Homeschool Kid, so come on back for that. If you want to be sure you don’t miss a post, you can subscribe here.