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10 Minutes Peace

    by Susan McGrath

"Schoolhouse Wisdom"
Date Posted: August 28, 2004

Sometimes it's easy to forget that what our kids learn at home gets taken to school with them. We are with them many hours, days, even years before the school system has a chance to mold them.

So why do we worry so much about how school will affect the?. Perhaps because we doubt our ability as parents to make a strong impression of right and wrong. Sure, maybe we're confident that they will chew with their mouths closed and say "Please" and "Thank you", but will they make the right decisions when someone bullies them on the playground or offers them drugs in the locker room?

They will if we have prepared them and continue to re-enforce the values we expect of them and the good decisions that they make.

School is really no different from Sunday school, except we are more trusting of the latter. We may take our kids to church and leave them in their class expecting that they will learn biblical truths and values.

But unless they are being taught by someone who understands and upholds those values and knows how to communicate them to children of that age, our child may not learn.

Parents are ultimately responsible for instilling God's word and every important value in their children. We are blessed if we have a network of Christian teachers at church or in school to help us with the task, but seeing that they get the information is up to us. So is modeling the lifestyle.

For thousands of years God has given His people the task of passing down his teachings to the next generation. Deuteronomy 11:18-20 says, "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."

Even though our children will hear about and experience many lifestyles when they enter school, whether in kindergarten, junior high, college or the school of the "real world", if we have instilled biblical truths in their hearts and modeled a Christ-life lifestyle for them, they will be able to face diversity and differences and conduct themselves appropriately.

For children in a home school or Christian school, this may not be an issue for years to come, but those in public school will face additional challenges and we should be in prayer for them.

Parents with children attending public school also should be informed about the policies of the school and the rights of their children, especially relating to religious expression. Remember that the overwhelming majority of teachers and administrators are there because they care about your kids. You may not agree with every decision they make, but try to respect them and honor their authority in front of your children.

Though laws vary by state in the U. S., students are allowed to participate in prayer meetings or groups as an extra-curricular activity as long as they are student-led. There also is no restriction concerning reading a bible at school as long as it is done silently during "free" time.

Again, since laws vary by state, you will want to know what applies to your children. Many organizations are available to help with this information. One to start with would be the Alliance Defense Fund.

As parents we have to remember that the goal is to teach our kids to live Christ. Sometimes battles have to be won along the way, but they shouldn't necessarily become our focus.

Have a blessed school year and help your kids show Christ in the schoolhouse!

As you find your 10 minutes this week, pray for all the students going back to school, at every age level. Pray for teachers who will be helping mold them. Pray for administrators and board members who have to make difficult decisions. Pray for support personnel like teacher aides, cooks, secretaries, janitors, bus drivers and all the others who are often overlooked and under-appreciated. Pray that the holy spirit will work through Christians in your school district to create a better atmosphere for learning.

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Biography Information:
Susan McGrath is:

a recovering journalist trying to encourage others and glorify God through writing;

living the small-town life with husband Tim and sons Lincoln, 12, and Sawyer, 6;

completing a few put-off writing projects while using chocolate for therapy.
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