The Real School Supply List Every Kid Needs

She starts high school in a couple of days.


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That little brown-eyed baby girl made me a mother and now I’m wishing I could make the clock slow down.

I showed her how to make her bed and her lunch and now she’s showing me how she will make her way.

Something special happened this summer. We don’t always get to see our kids grow-it’s slow and steady, it’s something we recognize after the fact. But there was a moment when time slowed down and I noticed the tilt of her chin, the determination in her eyes, the rapture of deciding who she is and realizing no one can take that away.

It was a brief glimpse of her becoming and it was beautiful.

She’s ready for those Chuck Taylors to take her places.

My son is starting junior high. His growth is obvious, man-sized hands and feet, hard to miss. I’ve never known a more g00d-natured soul, the kind of person who you just want to be around all the time. He is insightful and funny. He brings peace along with him.

I pray an invisible shield around his kind and thoughtful heart and pray the world doesn’t chip away his strength and resolve.

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My baby, a second grader. Oh, time.

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We finished up school supplies and my oldest asked about her high school list. I told her the teachers would tell her everything she needs on the first day of school.

“Mom, I need a pencil and paper at least. I can’t go unprepared,” her way of saying, One more trip to Target, please?

Prepared. We spend a lot of time in preparation, don’t we, moms?

But there isn’t a school supply list in the world that contains all I want to give my kids and it’s not what the world tells me they need.

While our culture says they need more selfies and self esteem, I want my kids to be more selfless. Find the new kid.

While our world says they need to fit in, I want my kids to stand out. Be different. Be themselves.

While our society says they are not enough, I want my kids to know that’s okay. Because Jesus is Enough.

The Real Back-to-School Supply List:

We can instill purpose in them | We are raising kids in a culture that is constantly changing its moral code. And without deep-rooted purpose, it’s far too easy for our children to get tossed around by whatever is politically correct or by social norms that shift without warning. If we don’t teach our kids we are here to glorify God and our ultimate purpose is to know Him and make Him known, no one else will.

We can encourage positive community around them| When we’re expecting our kids to live in the world, but not be like it, it’s absolutely crucial to provide opportunities for positive community. It’s actually not always convenient to attend church youth group or get together with like-minded friends, but it must be a priority. Kids need to feel like they belong somewhere. And they will.

We can offer them a safe place to fall and fail | Our kids grow through failure. We all have bad days and offering them a safe place to be themselves is a gift. If they have to keep it all together all the time, they just might fall part in the wrong place. Be their safety net. We don’t have to expect failure, but our kids should be able to expect our support no matter what.

We can remind them to be kind and thoughtful to others | Nothing makes me prouder than when I hear that my kids were kind to the new kid or reached out to someone. Parents are often the best teachers. When we take time to serve or put others first, we are teaching our children that this is valuable.

We can show them the beauty of faithfulness when life is hard | In our culture, it’s too easy to quit when things get tough. When we are faithful in hardships, this is when we learn. This is success. Expecting our kids to be faithful to their commitments is something they will carry through life.

We can choose to live in peace | Our world is in chaos. It’s a scary time to be raising kids today and we can’t predict or provide peace in the world. But we can try and provide it at home. We can pick our battles with each other and especially with those who choose to live differently than we do. It’s not really about tolerance; it’s about love.

So, let’s send our kids armed with backpacks and scissors and number 2 pencils, new shoes, a great breakfast and a pat on the back to, “do your best,” but  let’s also remember there are important things we can offer them that can’t be found on the Back to School aisle.


WFMW: The Secret to a Greater Yes

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I’m happy to introduce you to this week’s guest poster Arabah for my Wednesday series Yes, Works For Me! Please welcome her and be encouraged by her yes to God and continue to link up what works for you.

I’m jealous of people with super-sized God dreams and extra large yeses.

There, I said it.

I wish I could believe God for huge things and then go jump off an airplane at 10,000 feet on a rescue mission.  Or something. But truth is, I’m a woman with trust issues.

That’s pertinent information because when I tell you I’ve lived an international, nomadic life for over a decade, that I’ve eaten pig snouts and given birth in three different countries, that I’ve adopted a child from a hard place, and moved more times than I can count, it sure isn’t because I’m the adventurous type.

{Trust me. I didn’t find out about the pig nose until after the fact, if you know what I mean.}

I look back over my life and don’t see any big choices, no jumps or leaps of faith… just small little yeses every day. Over time, this is where they’ve led.

Yes is like a seed. It grows over time. But I’ve learned a little secret. Our yes is only as big as our trust. So if I want a greater yes…and I do… I need to strengthen my trust muscles.

In John 6:28-29, some people told Jesus they wanted to do God’s works too. So they asked Jesus what they should do. I imagine they were asking for all of us, because it is a desire God’s people have, to do God’s works.

Jesus answered them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe.”

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In other words, the work of believing God is the greatest yes of all. It prompts and enables all the other yeses.

It doesn’t take someone special to do big things, it just takes faith in a big God. To me, that is really great news!

We see this in Abraham. Isaiah 51:2 tells us to ponder his story, to realize that when God called Abram, he was a measly, solitary one. He wasn’t the Abraham we generally think of: wealthy, blessed, full of life and God’s favor, rich in faith, intimate with God. He was none of those things. Yet it was through faith that Abram became Abraham, the father of nations.

It could be our story too.

God is always issuing the invitation to trust, to move out of ordinary into the realm of yes.

It doesn’t have to be big. Maybe it means we stop viewing our lives as boring and mundane and instead believe everything we do is significant. (I Corinthians 10:31)

Maybe it means speaking to the person in line at the grocery.

Maybe it means writing a letter or paying it forward or just hushing that inner voice of condemnation over our failures based on the truth of God’s word.

We can’t follow the traditions of others or the culture around us. We can’t do things the way we’ve always done. Saying yes means we trust God… then step out and do things differently. We think and move in new patterns.

A life of trust is one small yes after the other, minute after minute, day after day. The result is a legacy we can be proud of.

No 10,000 feet plunges required.

Unless, of course, that’s what’s on your invite.

So, what is your yes going to be today?

 

Bio:

Arabah Joy is wife to Jackson and mom to four frog-loving, scooter-toting kids. She and her family live on the 26th floor of a high rise somewhere in Asia. She is author of several books, including the just released book, Trust Without Borders, a part memoir, part spiritual guide to living a life of trust. She loves connecting with readers on her blog at www.arabahjoy.com.