New School Year

As we settle in to the new school year, we are all in different places
in our children’s school-age careers. Whether you’re a first-timer or
a grizzled veteran, you’ve already made one of the most important
decisions you can make as a parent by enrolling your children in
a Christian school. But choosing well is only part of the work. I
want to encourage you to maximize your family’s experience in
your Christian school, as my wife and I have been blessed to do, by
becoming involved in everything the school has to offer.

First, please pray for your children, their teachers, and the school
community. Every morning when that car door slams and your kids
run off to school, rather than turning up SiriusXM immediately,
would you take a minute to pray for your school community: for
safety, grace, mercy, patience, and unity? Wouldn’t it be incredible
to see God take your ordinary prayers and transform your school in
extraordinary ways?

Second, please reach out to other parents within your kids’ classes.
In the day of digital communication and lots of mobility, we are
not as good at building relationships as we were when we had fewer
distractions. Much of the power of your school is the strength of its
community. But your ability to enjoy that community, to fully take
advantage of it and allow your kids to thrive in it, depends on you.
Some of my deepest relationships were forged in doing life together:
doing home repairs with other dads for a single mom, going on
daddy-daughter canoe trips, and watching our kids’ ball games.
Almost everything I now know as a parent I learned from these wise
people as we did life side by side. But I had to reach out first.

Third, be involved in the school. Your school is not as strong as it
could be without your engagement. Help make it stronger by using
your gifts. Are you a builder? Do you have a great testimony? Do
you love to bake? When you have the chance to give from what God
has given you—and you will have many chances at your school—
please take advantage.

Finally, be what you hope for. Model what you want to see in your
children. Christian Smith, a researcher at Notre Dame and the
director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society, says the
great likelihood is that your kids will become what you are. If that
worries you at all, one of the best ways to change their future reality
is to change your present one.

When a school community together models what’s pure and
noble and good for its children, forgiving each other and seeking
forgiveness, engaged in the life of the school, characterized by
enduring relationships, going to the Lord daily on behalf of each
other, that community tends to produce learners with a strong,
enduring, resilient faith. Kind of like my tree. —Jay Ferguson