Back to school: 3 simple ways to prepare your child’s heart for a new school year
All the signs of a new school year are right around the corner.
With all the hustle and bustle of a coming new school year, we can spend more time preparing supplies than we do preparing the hearts of our children. Whether your little one is stepping in the halls for the first time as a kindergartener or stepping into the new world of high school, we can intentionally choose to pour in their hearts.
So where do we begin to prepare our child’s heart for a new school year?
Prepare them to guard their hearts
As our children prepare to walk the halls, they will be exposed to all sorts of influences contrary to the way we raise them. We can’t shelter them from the world, but we can prepare them to be a light for Christ in the world. To equip our children, we must teach them to guard their hearts.
Out of their hearts will our children be led. Their will, their mind, their thoughts, and their actions are simply reflections of their hearts. Our responsibility as parents are to help guide them on how to cultivate a heart after God. As their hearts hunger for God, the ways of God, and an intimate relationship with God, their actions, will, thoughts, and actions will align with the truth of God’s word.
Make prayer, family devotion, Bible reading, praise, and worship a regular part of your child’s day. As a mom of four, life can feel chaotic and stretched. I get it may seem awkward at first; but momma, our children need us to show up to guide them in their spiritual development. We wouldn’t allow our children to go to school without doing their homework, so they are prepared for school. Why would we let our children go out into the world unprepared to guard their precious hearts against evil?
We only guard what we find valuable. Teaching our children to guard their heart is not about putting up walls to isolate. Guarding keeps jealousy, hatred, rejection, and anger from taking root in their heart. Instead, they guard their heart so they can be open to love, reconciliation, peace, and joy. We are teaching them to guard their hearts because, from the heart, every other part of the body can function correctly.
“Above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23
Lord, help my child __________ guard his/heart for everything he/she does flows from it. Let ________’s character be developed and led by Your word.
Prepare them to surrender their hearts
Very early children have a desire to be independent. They quickly shift into the “I can do it myself mommy” mode. As much as we want them to learn how to be independent, we want them to grow up to be entirely dependent on God. Guiding our children to surrender their hearts to God will go against a world telling our children they need to hustle, make things happen, and rely on themselves.
Teaching our children to surrender to God requires us to include them in how we surrender daily to Christ. Model for them how and what you pray. Talk to them about ways they can rely on God for strength and direction throughout their school day. Remind them living surrendered is a posture or way of living walked out in their daily decisions.
Surrender to God says less of me more of you.
Surrender says to God not my will but yours.
Surrender says to God I don’t have to everything figured out because You have it all worked out.
As our children start a new year, they may want to find strength in their abilities, in their friends, or maybe even in you. Instead, we need to teach our children their strength for enduring, growing, and learning will come from their position of surrender to Christ.
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73: 26
Heavenly Father, help my child __________ to surrender his heart to you. Help _______ to know even though their flesh and heart may fail, YOU are his/her strength and his/her portion forever.
Prepare them to keep God’s word in their hearts
Friend, do you remember what it was like when you were in school? I do. I remember having my identity challenged when I thought differently. I remember others trying to tell me who I was and how I should act. I remember wanting to fit in and being tired of being different. I was already living with rejection, hurt, trauma, and fear, which overflowed into every friendship and relationship.
It doesn’t take much for the world to define what and who is beautiful, cool, the in-crowd, or label the invisible ones. Our children are bombarded with ideas defining their identity, sexuality, and worth from all sorts of direction. The only way they will be able to combat the negative influences headed their way is with the truth of God’s word rooted deeply in their hearts.
Remind your child of his/her identity. Speak scriptures and prayers aloud over your kid. Write scripture on the mirror in the bathroom, reminding your child the truth of God’s word. Don’t be afraid to saturate your home with praise and worship music, audio Bible readings in the car, or prayer right before football practice. Making prioritizing reading and studying God’s word will prepare our children for the spiritual battle they will face every day away from you. Prepare them well.
“My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity.” Proverbs 3: 1-2
My Lord, help my child __________ to know your word and hunger after your truth. Help _______ to keep your commands in his/her heart so that __________ life will be prolonged many years. I pray _______ will find peace and prosperity in you.
Now, mommas, I didn’t know to do this when my children were younger. I started being aware of how to prepare the hearts of my children much later in my motherhood journey. If you are seasoned mom, don’t condemn yourself for what you haven’t done. Instead, choose to start today.
Let’s start the new school year strong by teaching our children to guard their hearts, surrender their hearts, and keeping their hearts rooted in God’s word. Taking the time to prepare their hearts will outlast any book they read or any subject they learn because you are preparing them for an eternity with Christ.
Praying for a great school year,