The beginning of every school year brings the fresh reminder that Christian students, at some point, will find their faith tested while they’re on campus.
And there’s always the hope that with our own kids, we’ll be able to breathe a sigh of relief when they will tell us about times when their values or moral standards are challenged, that they had the strength and confidence to stand for what they believe!
The annual See You At The Pole event this year is Wednesday, September 24 at school flagpoles all around the nation. The 2014 theme verse for the event follows the apostle Paul’s famous passage on the armor of God, challenging and encouraging Christ followers to stand strong in the Lord and be his representatives to share the Good News of the Gospel.
This boldness in standing up and “owning” your convictions is easier for some than others. Even as an adult I can find myself caught “off guard” and sometimes need to take a deep breath and think things through before I respond or make a decision. Sometimes it’s easier to just react!
As our kids are still in that “working out their faith” stage of life, there’s a lot we, as parents, can do to help guide them so they know what they believe and be well prepared for the tests to come.
I have three questions for you that may help get you started.
What are you doing at the dinner table?
Coming together for dinner around the table as a family without TV, phones, or internet as a distraction, is the “sweet spot” of your launch pad to help propel the kids in the right direction. Make conversation using games, stories, and well-timed questions to help impart values and truth. Discussions at home anytime can be faith building and encouraging to your students. Make it fun and keep it real.
What are you doing Sunday morning?
Or Saturday night or Wednesday evening or whenever your church has an organized meeting with worship and teaching? Attending church can provide an opportunity to learn about and talk about biblical truths from both peers and adults who have a lot of wisdom. Youth leaders and pastors can be a sounding board and provide a place of accountability because they, too, understand what it’s like to struggle sometimes.
What are you reading, viewing, and listening to?
Christian resources can help kids focus on truths that will lift them up and remind them why they believe things about God. And they do it in a way that’s relevant to the culture in which we live. Even resources that aren’t “Christian” but present a moral dilemma can jumpstart conversation or a thought process. Take or send your kids (pay their way!) to see a movie like “God’s Not Dead” or a Christian concert, even if the artist isn’t one of your personal favorites. Find a book series that captures a topic your kids enjoy and make sure they have it with them for their reading period during their day at middle or high school. My kids love fiction, so a youth series by Ted Dekker, Robert Liparulo, Melody Carlson or even an older set like the Chronicles of Narnia series or Left Behind series can keep them reading for hours.
Our students can expect that their faith will be tested during their years at school, but with your wise help, they can also confidently participate both on and off campus with the assurance that they are not alone.
On a September morning before classes started for the day, one lone student stood at her school’s flag pole for the annual See You At The Pole gathering. But no one else showed up. When asked how she felt about it, her reply was, “Well, Jesus was there.”
As your student leaves the house for school each day, remind them that Jesus walks alongside them every moment. And having Jesus at school will help them be prepared for every kind of test they face.