By Carolyn Tomlin
Contributing Columnist, B&R

Carolyn Tomlin

Carolyn Tomlin

As parents, we aren’t perfect. And yes, we make mistakes while thinking we are doing what is right. In conversation with a grandmother, she related this story.

“When our little girl was in elementary school, we thought that eating a good wholesome breakfast was the best preparation for the school day. Therefore, I made sure she had a balanced meal to start the morning. However, my child didn’t want to eat that early. But, we insisted. There were many mornings our 6-year-old left in tears. As a mom, this is one of those things that I wish I could do over. How much better it would have been for her to leave home happy and smiling! Also, I could have let her choose something she liked — instead of traditional breakfast food.”

father-walking-son-to-schoolLeaving for school in a happy state is only one way parents can make a difference. Could these changes affect your child this school year?

  • Pray for your child. Today’s children and youth face difficulties that were almost unknown a few years ago. Guns on campus. Bomb scares. Terrorist threats. And the list goes on and on. Encourage others in your church to pray regularly for the safety of all children. Like other appointments and meetings, choose a daily time when you can be alone with God. Open your heart to earnestly pray for the safety of our little ones. Teach your child this verse, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you” (Psalm 56:3, NIV).
  • Volunteer in your child’s classroom. Parents, who are involved and support schools in a positive way, make a difference. Another plus, your child sees your example as education is important to success. Support parent groups and work together to improve our schools. Does the teacher need chaperones for a field trip? Could you help tutor a child who is working below grade level? By offering your services, you can make changes that affect everyone.
  • Establish the habit of reading. When children see parents reading books and newspapers, they are more inclined to do the same. Reading Bible stories and the classic children’s books aloud allows youngsters to hear the correct pronunciations and inflections in words. Make reading aloud a ritual in your family.
  • Help your child stay organized. Instead of frantically trying to find books, homework, shoes, and other items before school starts each morning, develop a plan. Before bedtime, place everything needed for the following day in a specific location. Depending on the age of the child, set a time to be in bed and lights out. Turn off phones and other technology.
  • Tuck young children in and say a prayer with them. A wise friend said, “The night is too long when a child has been scolded before bedtime.”

— Tomlin, of Jackson, writes for numerous Christian publications. She teaches the Boot Camp for Christian Writers. Email: tomlinm@bellsouth.net