This post is part of the weekly series on effective prayer.
Tests. Tests. Tests!
I listened with weariness as my daughter’s second grade teacher rattled on about how many computer tests the kids had taken in the first four days of school.
In reading alone, the kids had taken ten tests.
And computer-run tests… sheesh. My poor kid. She didn’t know much about using a computer. We had been focusing on gross and fine motor skills like writing, reading, threading a needle… a computer was one of those things we were planning to get to later.
We have been a homeschool family for the past few years, but, as our oldest child has been locked in constant battle with us over every form of schoolwork, we decided she needed some experiential education. Spending 2-3 hours fighting about completing a simple math or writing worksheet was beyond ridiculous. She would dig her heels in and we would dig our heels in and neither of us would achieve anything but complete exhaustion. She thought that we were cruel for giving her “so much work” and so we decided she needed to see “how the other half lives.”
Within those first four days of school, she was a believer.
As for myself, I had been wondering if certain academic disciplines were lacking in our home education. After that open house, I realized that our home education was far richer than the public school education, but the public school offered something for my daughter that we just couldn’t provide: harsh reality.
I looked at the children and parents at the open house. The parents had that determined look on their face—determined that their kids’ tests results would be exceptional. The kids… well, the kids just looked tired.
Tests, tests, tests… it’s all about the tests.
My daughter’s teacher is a veteran teacher and I can tell she has a strong distaste for the common core education, but she has to administer it nonetheless. I was saddened by the emphasis on numeric performance. What about character development? What about becoming enmeshed in curiosity and exploration? What about critical thinking and analysis?
What are they teaching those kids??
Now, I want to make it clear that I’m not anti-public school. Public school has it’s advantages.
School can teach you how to get along with rude and negative personalities, how to succeed even when your teacher is set against you, how to work the system in your favor, how to work under pressure and how to juggle multiple commitments.
There are advantages to both forms of education. No matter which system your child or grandchild is in, they need a great deal of help, support and supplemental teaching from us. I would not be a writer were it not for my father’s excellent modeling and assistance as a young child. I would have no love for books had I no library to explore. My parents still have a large wall-length shelving unit packed with books. My grandmother taught me basic sewing. My mother let me mess around in the kitchen. My brother taught me how to build strong structures with legos or sand castles on the beach. I had a lot of family support, but not all children are blessed in the same way I was.
Our children need us—parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, bible class teachers, mentors—no matter where they go to school.
Above all else, they need God to work on their behalf in spite of circumstance.
They need us to be prayer warriors for them. I am thoroughly convinced that I would have gone down the tubes if someone hadn’t been praying for me.
The first best thing you can do for your children (or grand-children, mentored children etc) whether they are school-age or not is to approach God with humility and prayer on their behalf.
This week, work on praying the following for these children:
1) Pray for their teachers to exercise good judgement towards the children.
Little junior may or may not be a good kid. A solid teacher will work with them (and you) toward their improvement. Teachers can get biased based on older siblings’ performance and treat the younger siblings accordingly.
2) Pray for their teachers to be strong, steady and consistent.
First rule of parenting: consistency, consistency, consistency. First rule of teaching: consistency…
Second: Patience (steadiness)
Third: Strength to keep carrying out numbers 1 & 2 without wavering.
3) Pray for their protection from harm.
Let’s be frank: After Columbine, high school seemed more dangerous than ever. After Sandy Hook, we realized that even our little kindergarteners weren’t safe from danger. School has bullies, drugs, child molesters… I’ll stop there so you don’t hyperventilate. Trust in the Lord to watch over your child. Pray for them and put them in God’s care.
4) Pray for them to be delivered from temptation.
This worries me more than the mean people. This relies on the integrity of your child. Training at home plays a part, but it comes down to the mindset of your child. Pray for the Lord to keep them from being tempted beyond their ability to handle it. (He promises to do that, by the way).
5) Pray for them to be strong in the Lord.
Their faith is going to be attacked at some point, whether the source is another kid or a teacher. Pray that they will stay strong in their faith.
6) Pray for them to be focused and conscientious students.
We want them to succeed in school. It doesn’t happen by accident. Anything you can do to help them physically is good too (i.e. getting enough sleep, eating enough protein (and A LOT LESS sugar), helping them with their homework and encouraging them to be physically active after school).
7) Pray that they will be able to recognize deceitful teaching.
If children have a worldview based on God and His Word, they will hear things that don’t sound right and they will question both sides. Pray that they will always return to the Lord and not get sucked into the deceitfulness of the world.
Let’s pray together to great effect!
Please share this post with others who have kids in school!