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Tuesday
Aug012017

Crayons and Kids

By:  Donna Martin

There is nothing more satisfying on the first day of school than that new box of unused crayons.  They are so smooth with nice pointed tips.  The paper fits tightly around the crayon and the name of the color can clearly be read. They all fit perfectly into the box, and none of them are broken.  However, it only takes a few pieces of artwork to break them down until they are no longer able to fit into the box, the color names are smudged, the paper coverings are torn and ragged, and many of them are broken.  In spite of all the wear and tear, they are still able to fulfill their purpose to add color to a sheet of plain paper.

It would be nice if one could keep the crayons from becoming worn and torn, but to do this one would have to keep them tucked nicely in the box where they would never fulfill the purpose for which they were created.

Just like those new crayons, children will face the wear and tear of the challenges of school each day.  Some children will struggle with difficult subjects; some will have trouble sitting still all day.  Others will encounter unkind words from peers, abandonment by friends, and feelings of insecurity because their crayons may not be as fancy as their peers.

Sometimes parents would love to just keep their children tucked away like a box of new crayons so that nothing can hurt them, but then how would they learn to face the difficulties of life?  As parents our job is to raise our children to leave us.  This is often difficult because we do not like to see our child sad or hurt or left out.  So what can we do?

Here are some suggestions for encouraging your child through the school year.

1. Tuck encouraging Bible verses into your child’s lunch or backpack.  When I taught middle school one of my student’s was standing beside her locker reading a Bible verse that her mother had tucked into her backpack.  As I passed by she showed it to me and told me that her mother tucked a verse into her backpack every day.  I could tell she was delighted to discover it. 

2.  Stay in touch with your child’s teachers.  Write a note of encouragement to your child’s teacher.  Check in with her ever so often to see how your child is doing.  If you do not work outside the home, volunteer to help in the classroom by reading to students, running off papers, anything to help.  Just be sure that if you say you are going to help, show up and show up on time.  Always show up on time for parent/teacher conferences.  Being a supportive parent will help your child know that you and the teacher are both working together for her benefit.

3.  Get involved in parent/teacher organizations and school activities.  This gives you an opportunity to get to know other parents.

4.  Get to know your child’s friends.  Volunteering in the classroom and attending school events can help you do this. 

5.  Prepare your children for the world by teaching them God’s truths.  Read the Bible together and have family devotions.  Help them memorize verses that will help them through the day. Talk about God as you eat dinner together.  Teach your children praise songs.  Teach your children to pray and remind them that they can pray anytime and anywhere.

6.  Be a good listener.  Sometimes your child may just need to talk.  Listen to his feelings and validate them.  If he is afraid, say, “I understand how that makes you feel afraid.”  Then help him think of ways to overcome his fears.

7.  Be careful about where your children go for sleepovers.  A friend of ours only lets her children stay with grandparents or family members.  This may seem a little strict, but even people we know may not share our same values.

8.  Remember that your child does not have to have everything that everyone else has.  Our world has become so materialistic.  Put less emphasis on what others are wearing or what they have and talk more about their good character.

You can’t keep your child from difficulties, but you can prepare them for difficulties and help them learn how to handle them.  They may get a little torn and battered along the way, but as James 1:2-4 tells us, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  Protect your children when they need it, but also help them work through difficulties and trials. Then they can mature and become the people God desires them to be, and they can color the world around them with the love of God.

The Martins are available to present “Happy Together” Marriage Enrichment Events for churches and organizations.  To schedule an event call Michael at 940-735-1515. They are certified “Prepare/Enrich” Facilitators and are available to work with couples on an individual basis using the “Prepare/Enrich Assessment.”  They publish a weekly “Happy Together” Blog about family and marriage issues.  You can order copies of their new books Dancing With Death and 366 Tidbits We Have Learned in 14,610 Days of Marriage, read, and subscribe to their “Happy Together” Blog by logging onto the Martin’s website at www.happytogethermarriages.com.

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