September is known for great commercials about parents preparing students to return to classrooms. Some even claim “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!” Our school sends our suggestion lists to parents as early as July. However on this last day of September, while Target and Walmart have long ditched the school supplies for Halloween costumes and even Christmas decorations (UGH!), I wanted to take just a minute to update our list of supplies with 6 items that didn’t make the summer list but are truly needed every day at school. Thank you for your support in ensuring that your students bring the following supplies each day:
- Lips that are kind While pencils are important, lips that are kind are vital! Students today are bombarded by examples in the media of meanness. Even TV shows for the youngest children portray examples gossip, slander, jokes at the expense of others, and just plain rude discourse. Unfortunately, this election season hasn’t raised the bar much. How will children learn to communicate effectively in any form, if we haven’t modeled it for them? Kind and encouraging words can bring new life to someone, but unkind words can destroy. Let’s encourage and model for our children how to encourage others by the way we communicate. “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18
- Hands that can share One of the hardest lessons for our youngest students to learn is that of sharing. It is all new, for most of them, who may not have to share with others at home. This is an understandable phenomenon in preschool, but unfortunately, it carries on into our older students, as well. Having to share toys, space, time, friends,or even an adult’s attention can be a difficult task, even for grownups. Giving children intentional opportunities to share at home and outside the home can be an investment in the heart that will last a lifetime. While we desire to give our children everything we can, one of the greatest gifts we can give them is the ability to see a need and help to meet it. “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:16
- Bodies that can rest With the first month of school coming to an end, we all are probably feeling exhausted. Fall just doesn’t provide the opportunity to rest and enjoy life like summer does. In fact, not only is there the expected homework and studying, but there can also be a litany of evening activities, including multiple sports, clubs, games, etc. While scheduling our family lives can be a positive thing, UN-scheduling our family lives can oftentimes be JUST as positive. When was the last time your family had a quiet dinner together? What about a game night? What about a Saturday Stay Home Day? As we model so much for our children, one of the things we need to remember to model is how to be STILL. How to handle the quiet. How to rest. Jesus modeled this practice regularly during his life on earth. After a busy time with people, he would often “withdraw to the other side of the lake” so that He could reconnect in peace to His Heavenly Father. Can you give your family the gift of that kind of peace? An understanding of the quiet? Believe it or not, learning to be ok with un-scheduled time is a skill that is needed in our children’s lives. It would probably do us parents some good, too. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.” Psalm 23:1-3a
- Shoulders that can carry responsibility Babies are so helpless! They depend on mommies and daddies for every one of their basic needs. But as babies grow they become more and more independent… and that’s a good thing. We want our children to grow up to be able to be responsible and to be able to take care of themselves. The best way to prepare them to be adults is to begin giving them responsibility for tasks at an early age. How old does a child have to be to make a sandwich or put chips in a bag for his/her lunch? Can a young one help with household chores? How about helping with yard work? This type of training not only gives kids a chance to learn a skill but also a chance to be responsible. Another form of responsibility is owning their mistakes. One of the best ways to learn something is when we do it the wrong the first time and then figuring out where we made mistakes and then fixing them. Understanding that our kids are going to make mistakes and then letting them “own” the consequences will bring growth and understanding and greater responsibility as they grow to be strong, capable adults. “But let each one test his own work ... For each will have to bear his own load.” Galatians 6:4a-5
- Ears that can hear correction Some of the most vital skills needed for today’s workplace are being able to collaboratively work with a group and handling constructive criticism in a way that is positive and leads to growth. As we train up our children, that learning starts now. Do we provide correction for our children, allowing them to “suffer” hearing that they can improve? Or, do we allow them to feel they are always rights? Do we give them opportunities to learn from the word “NO” or do we fulfill their every desire? Do we teach them that there are some behaviors that are appropriate at home but may not be appropriate in another setting? Do we teach our children how to handle discipline and correction or do we always let them have their own way. While we want to love our kids, one of the best ways we can demonstrate that love is by training them to be self-disciplined and to accept correction graciously. “ My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” Hebrews 12:6
- Feet that want to follow Jesus The most important item on the list is this last one! This is the one that will make an eternal difference. It’s the reason we do what we do here at Bethany School. We want kids to learn and to grow and to get great grades. We want our kids to play nice and share and be well-rounded. But more than anything, we want kids to know and follow Jesus. It is central to everything that we do here at Bethany School. But it’s not our job alone. Are you cultivating little hearts that long to know God? Are you praying with them and for them at home? Has your family connected in a local church community where both kids and adults are being changed by the Word of God? More than anything, we want to help families grow to follow Jesus. “ When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” John 8:12
So, even though tomorrow is the first day of October, it isn’t too late to take stock of these “supplies” that are so needed both here at school and at home.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Bethany Church and School want to be a resource for families as they raise children to be followers of Jesus. If we can help you in any way, please don’t hesitate to email us at
or reach out to our church website at www.bethanylb.org .