Rodney Wilson is a regular guest post writer on Selma on Leadership. Rodney has been a marriage and family pastor/counselor for almost 20 years. Rodney and Selma have been married for 40 years and they have spoken and written on marriage and family issues for most of their married life.
Leadership is often seen the clearest in transition. As your child begins school for a new year, it represents transition in their life as well as the entire family. What an excellent time to lead your family! Not to rule or dominate them, but to lead them. You set the tone in how best to approach the coming transition.5 Ways to Lead Your Family into the New School Year by Rodney Wilson Click To Tweet
Here are some ideas on how to lead in the transition of another school year for your kid(s) and family.
5 Ways to Lead Your Family into the New School Year
1. Celebrate the change in their life! A new school year means change. Things will be different and that can unnerve some kids. Be excited for them. Help them see this passage as an adventure. Indeed, it can it be a challenge for your youngster, but show them that challenges can be a dynamic journey for them. Assure them of your support and presence in these days of change.
Children will often pick up on your positive attitude and see life as a quest rather than something to be dreaded. As you see them on that school bus, for example, you are showing them you have confidence that they can handle the coming change in their life. (For parents of first-graders, let the bus drive off. Then you can have your breakdown!)
One more suggestion here: don’t overdo the pictures. If that is embarrassing to them, simply sneak in a few for history’s sake but don’t make a big deal of it. Celebrate, but be sensitive.
2. Get to know their teacher(s). By taking the initiative and meeting your child’s teachers, you are getting to know a bit of the world they’ll be in for the coming year. Teachers, welcome getting to know parents.
You can offer to help in the parent’s group. Selma and I were presidents of the parent organization one year. (Been there. Done that. Got the plaque.) Your involvement can create a team effect in educating your child. Again, this can be overdone but some level of contact with your child’s teacher can pay some significant dividends throughout the year.
A key opportunity to meet teachers is the annual open house. If you miss it, however, contact them via email and make the connection with your kid’s teacher that way.
Getting acquainted and offering to help with his or her teacher tells your child that you also embrace change of a new year and are willing to take steps to make such change a healthy one.
3. On school mornings ask your child, “How can I pray for you today?” I asked that of my girls while driving them to school for several years. They knew I wanted to take their concerns (a test, ball practice or an issue about one of those snotty-nosed boys) to the Lord. It drew us closer as the girls got into it. Mom and Dad became people they could always take their prayer concerns to.
A cool experience one morning: as I asked one of my girls that question she answered it and then promptly asked me, “ And Daddy, how can I pray for you today? ” What a sweet, lump-in-the-throat time.
4. At bedtime, follow up on the morning question. At the end of the day, ask for an update on how the prayer concern went. Some of our best times to celebrate have been at the end of the day. For example, we might not have known what grade she got on the test, but we knew that God had been with her.
Remember that each prayer concern is unique. Some prayer needs, for example, are longer term and not immediately “solved” or answered. When that is the case, it is a great time to introduce them to Luke 18:1-8 (the widow parable) where Jesus teaches His disciples to pray persistently. Our family prayed for years about Natalie’s being allergic – to just about everything. Eventually, in His timing, her allergies faded. What a lesson we all learned about persistent prayer. And what a time of celebrating our family had!
Transitions like school beginnings create prayer needs. That evening re-connection tells your child you haven’t forgotten what you asked them that morning. You are concerned and want an update.
Bedtime is a perfect time to review the day, thank God as a family for His presence, and ask His continued guidance in the days ahead. This is embracing the transition. This is leadership.Bedtime is a perfect time to review the day and ask God for his continued guidance. Click To Tweet
5. Be willing to dive into their homework with them! While you acknowledge it is their work to do, show an interest in what they’ve been assigned. See that they understand what’s going on. I heard a man once say his daughter had trouble grasping the math concepts at school. He offered to help her and ended up hiring a tutor for two nights a week. He said, “She goes on Tuesdays and I go on Thursdays!”
To whatever extent you do this, your involvement in their homework tells your kid you care. You want to know what’s going on. Strike the fine line of not hovering or harping, but helping through their homework world.
So there you have it. Not an exhaustive list but some ideas for you to lead in this next chapter of your children’s lives. Celebrate the coming change. Include talking to God together about the needs that will surface. And do something practical like checking in on their homework.
Such is the life of a parent/leader – to connect with their kids.