Let’s face it, the beginning of the school year can be a stressful time. There are new routines, places to see, people to meet, and skills to learn! And, it’s not just the children who are anxious. Parents are, too. So, with the new school year upon us, what resources do we have, as people of faith, to help our children (and us!) during this exciting but anxious time?
One of the most important things we need to remember is the new identity we’ve been given in Christ. Those of us who live “in Christ,” as the Apostle Paul calls it, are “new creations. The old has passed away and everything has become new,” (2 Cor. 5:17). Without Christ, we were people of darkness. With Christ, we are children of light. Without Christ, we were slaves to sin. With Christ, we are slaves to righteousness. Without Christ, we lived with worry and fear. With Christ, we are more than conquerors.
I find the most helpful thing I can do is immerse myself in that new identity, which is something I have to do constantly–through prayer, through studying scriptures, and through worship. When I am living out of this new identity, I am my best self. I am who God created me to be.
It’s no surprise that one of the most helpful things we can do for our children is remind them of the same thing. Find ways in the morning to help your children stay centered in who they are “in Christ.” It could be as simple as a prayer before heading to school or an encouraging send off like, “Remember, you are a child of God!”
There are days my son wakes up and within a few minutes is fussing, fighting and complaining. I take him by the hand the moment he wakes up, and sit him down. I ask him to breathe with me. After a few breaths, I ask him to “check in” with himself about how he’s feeling. We practice breathing in the presence of God and breathing out those unhelpful feelings.
The most important thing you can do is immerse yourself in your new identity in Christ. The most important thing you can do for your children is to teach them and remind them of the same. ■