What’s the first thing that catches your eye when you walk into Walmart or Target lately? Unless you’re already seeing Halloween decorations, in which case you’re probably annoyed at how early they’ve stormed the shelves, it’s probably a back-to-school display.
I remember the sinking feeling I would get in my stomach when I was gearing up for a new school year and saw stacks of notebooks, papers, pencils, and binders. I knew what it meant: No more summer fun—back to the daily grind.
Starting a new school year can be exciting for many kids, but for others, the end of summer and the entrance into a new social set-up can be a nightmare. Kids have to worry about bullying, popularity contests, flirting (yes, flirting), and on top of it all, a full plate of schoolwork after a summer of free time.
You may have a child that has these fears. Kids can’t always stick the landing on the first day, and a bad first day can create fear for every subsequent first day of school. But it’s crucial to remind kids of their most valuable defense: the Bible. Here are three passages you can use to encourage and teach your children as they embark on their new adventures.
1. John 14:26–27: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Jesus spoke these words of encouragement to His disciples at the Last Supper to comfort them as He prepared to leave this earth. How encouraging to know that we have this same Holy Spirit living inside of us as believers! If your child knows the Lord, this verse can be a breath of fresh air, reminding them that they don’t have to face their fears alone; the Holy Spirit accompanies them, and the Lord offers true peace for their hearts.
2. Matthew 5:14–16: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Though particularly helpful for those in public schools, these verses are our hope for children wherever they go. Kids following the Lord in public make other kids take notice. The best way for children to learn this is to see it in action. Give your kids a look at how to let your light shine by pleasing God in all that you do, say, and think, both in public and private.
3. Romans 12:17–21: “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. Therefore, ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Paul’s encouragement for believers is key for the social aspect of school. More than likely, bullying or social tension is going to be part of your kids’ surroundings in school. This passage provides a great reminder to those who struggle to love their enemies. Encourage your children to let this love for others be the driving force for all their social interactions.
Even if your kids dread going back to school, you can help them confront and dispel their fears with the living, powerful Word of God. The first day doesn’t have to be scary if they know how to stand on the promises of the Lord. If you can equip your child with certain trust in their Defender, you can help them look forward to their back-to-school transition instead of fearing it.