We went back to school shoe shopping on Saturday. My 9-year-old picked out a pair of the ugliest shoes in the store. As parents, we resolved to keep our judgmental opinions regarding his shoe selection to ourselves. However, I did inform him that the only thing that would compliment those shoes were ugly shirts and pants.
It is difficult being a parent and raising a child toward independence. We want to protect our children from the humiliating laughter of others while at the same time encouraging them to think for themselves. It's just sometimes - well, most of the time - we don't have a clue what they are thinking. Of course, this comes from parents who grew up during a time where we rolled up the bottom of our pants legs so tight that it cut off circulation and did the same with the sleeves of our shirts.
Back to school season is a good reminder that education begins at home. We have a commitment to society to raise our children in such a way that they become responsible individuals. Our children are watching us. Everything we do and say is teaching our children how to respond as adults. As much as we watch what our children are doing, they are watching us.
So, remind your children to pick their friends wisely, be nice to their teachers, and play fair. But, the most important thing may be to remind them daily how much they are loved and treasured. They are unique and created in the image of God.
May our dream for our children be the same as the Lord's vision for all of us when He said in Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."
What advice will you give to your children as they head back to school?