It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I was dragging my butt across the last day of school finish line. We were holding it together with a shoe lace and piece of tape.
This school year, as I embark of a personal record of sending five kids to school, I am going to be ready. I am going into this school year intentional and purposed for a peaceful, lower-stress, more Christ-centered year.
How am I going to get there? Well Moses says:
1. You shall prepare the night before.
Confession: I have screamed, yelled and shoved kids out of the house because they are late. I HATE starting the day that way. I want to start the day sending my kids off with a smile not wounding a moment that they are going to be talking to a counselor about in 20 years.
Preventing these moments is the key. We will enforce a strict “get ready the night before” policy. We will pack lunches. We will lay out our clothes. We will lay out our shoes. We will make sure we have two matching shoes. We will have homework completed and packed into a zipped back pack. We will make sure all school money is collected and distributed the night before. We will make sure the kitchen is clean and breakfast food is in prepared.
Parents, don’t be hard on your children. Raise them properly. Teach them and instruct them about the Lord. Eph. 6:4 CEV
2. You shall have an after school routine.
Children operate best when the know what is coming next and what is expected of them. So, we will have customized after school routines. We will have a designated area and time for snack, free time and homework that fits each child. After putting in 7-8 hours at school most kids, especially our introverted ones, need down time to recharge. I will make sure they get that time before laying on more demands.
3. You shall have family dinner.
Something spiritual happens when we eat together. It binds us. It gives us time as a family to share our stories, our victories and our losses. It grounds us. It roots us in what is most important and that is God and each other.
He offered a sacrifice there in the hill country and invited his relatives to a meal. After they had eaten, they spent the night there. Gen. 31:54
4. You shall expect and enforce obedience.
First of all disobedience to parents is disobedience to God. That is just never OK. Second, I don’t have time for kids who don’t listen. I am lucky to get the words out the first time let alone have to repeat, repeat and repeat.
Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Col. 3:20
5. You shall expect children to do their share.
I am not a hired waitress, housekeeper or all around servant to my children. We are a family. We are a team. We all have to do our part and contribute to making this ship sail.
Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.” 2 Thes.3:10
6. You shall enforce bed time.
And not just for kids. Mom and Dad will have a bed time too. We will all stop and rest.
It is a waste of time to get up early and stay up late, trying to make a living.
The Lord provides for those he loves, even while they are sleeping. Psalm 127:2
7. You shall not over schedule children.
God says, Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life. 1 Thes. 4:11
Running from piano lessons, to baseball to gymnastics, eating in the car and doing homework in the backseat isn’t making one’s ambition to lead a quiet life. Kids and grown-ups go nuts when there is too much on the agenda. Slice and dice all the things that don’t need to be there. Schedule a quiet life instead.
8. You shall use your inside voice.
Unless your house is on fire, yell less.
The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever. Is. 32:17
9. You shall remember they are children.
We have to let them be children and have a childhood. Let the play more. Have age appropriate expectations. Putting grown-up demands on them is unreasonable and it just stresses us out when they don’t get it.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. 1 Cor 13:11
10. You shall follow the Holy Spirit.
So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Gal. 5:16
Pray. Listen. Follow. Repeat.