Julie Hawkins is Trietsch's Director of Children and Family Ministries. She understands the stress and anxiety that comes with the new school year. Read her personal experience below and keep up with all things happening in Children and Family Ministries at TMUMC.ORG/children. Join us this Sunday (Aug. 18) to celebrate going back to school with an ice cream truck, video games, and blessings for your kids!
A few weeks ago I sat at the kitchen counter with my fall calendar, multiple pens in various colors, my laptop and activity schedules for all of my kids. I spent over an hour color coding the calendar with choir concerts, golf tournaments, parent nights, booster club meetings, etc. At one point my husband walked by and asked what I was doing. “What does it look like?” I said, I’m doing the fall calendar. For our family, school doesn’t start until August 20th but the planning, the anxiety and the coordination began a month ago. As a mom I want to plan for every possible scenario when it comes to back to school but this is an impossible task!
A recent study of 2000 parents revealed back-to-school time to be the most stressful season of the year. Parents worry about kids making friends at school, who they sit with at lunch, academics, finances and even safety. Interestingly, parents today worry more about their kids being safe at school than they do about academic achievements. We worry a lot and this worry trickles down to our kids.
Several years ago we moved from New Jersey back to Texas. I was full of anxiety and guilt sending my kids to a new school in a new town. It's a hard thing to hand your children over to someone else. I wanted to protect them, shield them from the world, and most of all I wanted them to be happy. When the kids came home from school that day their reactions could not have been more different. One told me it was "fine" with no details. One made a new best friend and wanted to go to the store to buy friendship bracelets. The third told me "this is the worst state ever and the lunch food was horrible." In that moment I realized that all of my worries were for naught. Their experiences and outlook on school were completely separate from my worries as a mom.
Joshua 1:9 reminds us:
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
I like to remind myself of this in times of stress. God will be with the kids when they go back to school and God will be with you as you send them on their way. Have faith in the foundation you have laid as a parent. I invite you to share this scripture your kids as they begin the season of transitions. When we have a spiritual foundation, we are better able to cope with challenges and change.
The curriculum we use in Faith Voyage offers great tools for parents. I recommend the Parent Cue app and the website. You can find everything from how to connect with your child, to what to expect from a social and developmental standpoint, to current topics in parenting. I cannot recommend this enough! We will also be offering 2 new studies for parents this fall. One is for tween girls and their moms called "Treasured" and another is for parents of all ages called "Parenting Through The Phases." Both are 6 week classes and will be offered on Sunday afternoons starting September 8th.
Stay tuned to our Facebook Group for ways to encourage and equip your kids as they go back to school. And if you ever need a listening ear, I’m available!