Healthy decisions bring a healthy life, but getting to these healthy decisions can feel like…
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7)
I share several in this Back to School Blog, here is a condensed synopisis:
Plan A Party! Host a Learners and Leaders Who Love God Day (Download Privileges and Responsibilities worksheet and Kids’ Chore Chart)Then plan a fun activity and during that day, set aside time for a 1 to 1 for each child to negotiate privileges and responsibilities for the year. We also select one leadership trait to focus on developing during the year and our child would also select a bible verse about that trait that we all pray throughout the year. We also give a gift that helps build into that child’s unique passion or calling. (The full plan, with all the details is in our book 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make )
Love Lessons: It might be the time to have a significant talk with your children, so make a date to talk about the “Birds and Bees”. In 10 Questions Kids Ask About S * x…, we share “talking points” to help you share comfortably and intelligently the vital information at age appropriate increments (Download Teen Relationship Contract)
“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:6)
Dinners and Discussions: Got a college student? To give your college student a jump-start on a great year, (and a great life) make time to have five dinner and dialogues to discuss key topics they will face and need to take ownership of as they launch on their own. (Download the The Freshman Foundation,)
Optimize Organization: We have a weekly Marriage Meet Up so we can pull together in the same direction. (Download many freebies from the Marriage Meet Ups: A Devotional Planner for Couples who Want More Passion, Purpose and Productivity.) I also post a family calendar and we had a Sunday Family Meeting each week so we could handle stressors and work out scheduling bugs before they happened.
I also personally use my Get It Done, Girl: Maximize Your Moments Action Planner and I have a Selah Sunday Quiet Time to review the past week and plan for the coming week. These proactive planning habits, which I began when I was in college and as a newlywed, still serve us well now, decades later!
Prayer Power: One of the best decisions Bill and I made was to pray with our kids on the way to school , at meals, and before bedtime each day. In addition, I joined Moms In Prayer, a small group of moms at each school (or now online groups available too)
Recently, I enjoyed recording two podcasts for Moms In Prayer International on Discovering Wisdom in Proverbs (What are the wisest choices you made as a mom? How can we help our kids choose wisely?) And Growing a Joyful Heart (Moms, how can we cultivate joy in our own heart and how can we encourage our kids and grandkids to “choose joy” rather than grumbling and complaining?) For more info: Moms In Prayer Listen to podcasts on July 11 and 17., 2023
“The one who gets wisdom loves life; the one who cherishes understanding will soon prosper.” (Proverbs 19:8)
Wait! There’s More!
Make It Practical: Now that we have launched our sons, and they are happily married, and we have grandchildren, I asked my two daughters-in-law who have kids in school for their tips in making the school year more enjoyable and less stressful.
Hannah, an entrepreneur, is married to our oldest son, Brock, a high school Football coach, so the fall is jam-packed! She is mom of three, ages 15-11. Here are her quick tips of wisdom:
- Talk through expectations for what mornings and afternoons will look like on school days. We choose to say no to TV on school mornings.
- Play worship music in the house and the car to lessen nerves and set the tone for the day.
- On the way to school, we pray “God please bind their eyes, ears, hearts and minds to the things of this world. May they only see, hear and say what you have for them.”
- School supply shopping dates. Have a parent/adult take one kid at a time and make it special.
Walk with the wise and become wise…” (Proverbs 13:20)
Caleigh is married to our middle son, Zach, who is Assistant Director of Sports Performance at Grand Canyon Christian University. Their children are younger, ages 8, 5, and 7 months. Here is a bit of her wisdom for making the school year a positive experience:
Back to school can be so exciting but also chaotic, emotional, fun yet stressful with supply lists, school clothing, and trying to squeeze in every last ounce of summer break. Our first step for BTS (Back To School) success is sitting down with our calendars and planning out our week. We plan out each day (pick ups, drop offs, work schedules, extracurricular activities) along with our dinner menu for the week. We find that failing to plan is planning to fail- it is a domino effect in our home if we do not plan. We pick up the house, the kids’ bedrooms, etc to try and have a fresh start to the school year. We also find it helpful to grocery shop ahead of time for plenty of lunch items and snacks for during and after school. In a nutshell, planning is key, a clean house is a clear mind, and full bellies can make for less hangry kids!!
“Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding.” (Proverbs 3:13)
Make It Personal: In addition, our book 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make, has been out long enough so that the children who were raised under our Learner, Leader Who Love God plan, now are raising children of their own. I love how many of these innovative parents and proactive moms are adapting the parenting principles and traditions and making them their own. I asked Sheri, one of my friends, to share her experience this fall as she launched her two girls into a new school:
“My family recently moved from San Diego to Nashville, and with all the change, I knew we needed a sense of normalcy and a strong foundation to start out the new school year. Growing up at Valley Bible Church, I heard my mentors, Pam and Bill Farrel, sharing year after year about learner leader day with their boys. We’ve tried it before, and it didn’t really stick, but this year I decided to start fresh, really commit and adapt my approach. I have two girls that are 8 and 10 and going through different phases, so I started with 1:1 mother/daughter dates. Based on personality and gifts God is revealing, we planned shopping, a hike, nails and lunch. Along the way, I asked pointed questions, shared age-appropriate information and explained my desire for them to be learners & leaders who love God. We discussed the learner leader chart and I asked if they had any questions. After my 1:1 dates, I took both girls to Starbucks to fill out their charts. They eagerly filled them out as I helped them search for a key verse… then, they asked for my signature. I told my girls how important it is for me to invest in them through what we now call: “The 3-L club!” There is a feeling of unity and purpose as we start the year, and I look forward to seeing God grow my little ladies!”
“Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, “( Proverbs 24:14)
Even if school has already started, you can weave some of these activities into the first month and make “Back to School” a month of memorable moments and parent-child connections. Building character into your kids and your peace of mind can go together like peanut butter and jelly, or a lunchpail and thermos! Happy Back to School Blessings!
Pam and Bill Farrel are the parents of three sons, and enjoy time with their three daughters in law, and seven grandchildren. They have many parenting resources: 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make; 10 Questions Kids Ask About S*x: Answers to Have Ready; Got Teens? (coauthored with Jill Savage); 10 Best Decisions a Single Mom Can Make (co-authored with PeggySue Wells); Life in the Estrogen-free Zone (new compilation book for moms of boys. I (Pam) wrote the foreword and a chapter and more than a dozen moms of sons have a chapter too) Most of these also have audio messages (books and audios available at Love-Wise.com) For more wisdom for Mom, Discovering Wisdom in Proverbs: A Creative Bible Study Experience (coauthored with Jean E Jones and Karla Dornacher)