School must be about ready to start again. Titus the Honorable came to our house the other day, so excited that he had been enrolled in preschool. To him, enrolling in school is like having a birthday, because it comes with presents. He got a brand-new Lightening McQueen lunchbox (courtesy of his Poppy), along with a thermos and a container to store his food. And of course, he had to have new shoes, uniforms and a backpack to hold all his new belongings. He still has no clue what going to school is all about, but he loves the things that surround it.
Summer vacation sounds like a great concept, but once you get into it, you discover you can only take it for so long. You started the summer excited about getting to spend time with your children, and now you are praying you don’t do them any bodily harm before the summer ends.
Here are eight signs you are ready for your children to get back to school:
1. It is three o’clock in the afternoon, and your children are still wandering around in their pajamas. Yes, you had an exciting summer all planned. You got up early, took them to the zoo, the lake, theme parks and a host of other creative activities. But after listening to them repeatedly whine, “I’m bored,” “Not the zoo again,” “This is no fun,” “I want to hang out with my friends” and “It’s too hot outside,” you have finally given up on anything planned and are studying the signs of the end times, hoping Jesus’ return is imminent. If this is you, it is probably time for your children to go back to school.
2. It’s three o’clock in the afternoon, and you are sitting on the floor in your pajamas, watching the movie “Frozen” with a couple of prepubescent children for the 437th time while eating Cheerios out of a plastic container and drinking apple juice out of a box. If this is you, it might be time for you to send your kids back to school.
3. You find yourself driving around your children’s school, making sure it hasn’t closed down and mumbling, “Open, open!” If this is you, it’s about time your kids go back to school.
4. You’ve mailed in samples of your children’s saliva and check several times a day to see if the results have been posted. The more the summer has progressed, the less you believe these children have any biological connection to you. If this is you, you are ready to send your children back to school.
5. You get giddy when the “back to school” sales flyers start showing up in your mailbox, and you enjoy them more than birthday cards, Christmas cards or a tax refund, because they’re a sign from God that summer is about to end. If this is you, it’s time for you to send your children back to school.
6. In the past five days, you’ve gotten your kids up early, dressed them for school and sent them to the bus stop as “practice” even though school doesn’t start for a week. If this is you, it’s time for you to send your children back to school.
7. Since the quiet game no longer works, you’ve developed a sudden interest in “101 Ways to Use Duct Tape.” If this is you, I think it might be time for your children to hurry back to school.
8. You started a church-wide campaign to extend Vacation Bible School for three more weeks. If this is you, it might be time to send your children back to school.
Now is a good time to have a conversation with your children about going back to school. The Bible tells us in Proverb 22:6a (NASB) that we should “Train up a child in the way he should go.” Training is intentional: It prepares; it applies skills to difficult situations and it is proactive, not reactive.
Here are five things you should discuss with your children before school begins:
1. Different families: Not everybody comes from a home like theirs, even in a Christian school.
2. Different values: They will meet children whose values are different from your family’s.
3. Bullying: What to do when they see it happening; what to do if it happens to them.
4. Friendships: The importance of selecting good ones.
5. Respect for authority: Respecting the teachers and other adults at school honors God.
Each night when your children come home from school, spend a few minutes reviewing their day. It takes time but will yield great dividends.
I could add a lot more, but my kids are standing outside at the bus stop. I think it’s time they got back to school!