The Back-to-School Blues

How can parents support their children in the learning process? Setting an example of life learning, study habits, and balance between academic and spiritual learning is a good way to begin.

By Caryl W. Krueger

Categories: Paul, School

To a student facing the start of school, words such as "homework," " study," and "read" can cause great anxiety. Where did the freedom and fun of summertime go?

It can be a hard sell for parents to instill the love of learning in some students. They may feel like the writer of Ecclesiastes (12:12) " .....much study is a weariness of the flesh." Some translations view this passage as saying that mere book-learning isn't what's most important: but to love God and keep his commandments is far more valuable. It's up to you as a parent to see that a youngster has the right balance of amassing knowledge and amassing wisdom. To get back into the study-mode, it can be helpful if a parent also spends time learning new things. This can be done by reading while a student tackles homework. Establish a place to study (a good desk or table, reference books and supplies, and no distractions such as TV or music with lyrics.) Paul admonishes us (I Thessalonians 4:11), " to be quiet, and do your own business, and to work with your own hands...That ye may walk honestly...and that ye may have lack of nothing. But I would not have you to be ignorant..." As Eugene Peterson says of this passage in his book, The Message: "We want you living in a way that will command the respect of outsiders, not lying around sponging off your friends." These words of Paul are a great motto for students and worthy of being tacked up on the wall or the fridge.

A parent should verbally show respect for what a child is learning; regular conversation and compliments will spur even greater accomplishments. And, Sunday School attendance and connected study is a grand framework for the new school year. It helps to learn what young Timothy was told in the familiar passage (II Timothy 2:15), " Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed..."

Speaking of a particular class of young women, Paul rebukes them because they are idle, wandering about from house to house (mall to mall?), busybodies, speaking things that they ought not. Here is where parental guidance and being a role model are keys to a youngster's habits.

Now, as school starts here is your parental homework:

  1. Set an example of learning new things yourself.
  2. Provide a time to share what family members are learning.
  3. Establish a quiet place for study and reading.
  4. Respect what a youngster has accomplished, no matter how small.
  5. Set the basis for a good life by supporting Sunday School learning.
  6. Select a Biblical motto for each month and post it prominently.
  7. Make learning a joyful experience!

Yes, back-to-school should be a time of happiness - so work to make it so for your family.