Real or Not Real

In the recently popular book The Mockingjay (book 3 of the Hunger Games) Katniss and Peeta go through an exercise to bring a sense of trust with each other. Peeta would ask a question and then ask Katniss “Real or not real”, to try to return to that trust Peeta once had with Katniss before the capital hijacked (brainwashed) him.

What does this have to do with anything about raising children in the Public school? I’m Glad you asked.

School for our children starts next week (ugh it is the first week of August and already back in school). I have been praying not only for my own children but also for the teens in our church as they start back to the school year. My own children and most of the youth group kids are in the public school system and I am praying for them to have a wonderful year with many opportunities to share Christ with their friends.

The other day as I was listening to the radio and a song came on about “Prayer”, as it came to the second verse the words were “Well they tell our children not to pray  when they walk through the school-house door, according to the Constitution, you can’t do that anymore.” Honestly when I heard these words I though “That is an outright LIE”. REAL or NOT REAL? NOT REAL.

For years I heard it said from respected Christian leaders that the public schools were evil, that children could no longer pray, that students could no longer share their faith, that no Christian had business sending their children to the public school because God was not in any way, shape, or form allowed to be mentioned or talked about. REAL or NOT REAL? NOT REAL.

I am sure there are a minority of schools (especially in more urban areas) that would try to put a stop to the Christian influence in school, however in the majority of schools today students still have every opportunity to share their faith with others.

Children are not usually told they can’t pray when the enter the school.

The Constitution doesn’t say that students can’t pray.

In fact here is a reminder to our students of what the LAW DOES SAY about Christian Students and their rights. REAL OR NOT REAL? REAL.

  1. A student may wear a T-shirt or Use a pencil with a religious message, Bible verse, or Christian slogan printed on it.
  2. Christian students are also able to pass out Gospel tracts to classmates during non-instructional time in the same way they are allowed to pass out non-religious materials. This should be done in a way that doesn’t disrupt the normal events of a school day.
  3. Students can discuss religious matters or pray at any time when they are permitted to interact with other students- before and after school, during lunch, between classes – as long as the discussions don’t constitute harassment of a particular person or group. Any time a student is permitted to discuss non-instruction matters, he may also discuss religious matters, which includes witnessing and praying with others.
  4. Prayer is protected under the first amendment. A student may pray before eating lunch or silently before taking a test… as long as there are tests, there will be prayer in school.
  5. Christians are able to read the Bible in school whenever other non-instructional books are permitted to be read – at lunch or during study hall for example.
  6. Christians may express their religious beliefs in any written or oral assignment. If the views of all other students are allowed, the teacher may permit a Christian to share his views, as well.
  7. Public secondary schools must give Bible clubs the same privileges as any other school club, as long as the club is led by a student and not by a faculty sponsor. Bible club meetings may include prayer, Bible reading, and singing.
  8. Christian students may be excluded from a lesson or activity which would “substantially burden a student’s free exercise of religion, and if the school cannot prove a compelling interest in requiring attendance, the school is legally required to excuse the student from that lesson or activity”.

 

The principle of all these guidelines is that you can not disrupt classroom or school order. It’s not illegal to talk about God or the Bible in public schools. The more you know about your rights as a public school students, the more you will be able to exercise those rights in witnessing to non-Christians and fellowshipping with other believers.

So STUDENTS you have a REAL opportunity to share Christ this year at school. Are you going to make your faith REAL or NOT REAL?

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End of Summer, Beginning of School

In just about a week, the school year will start back. I anticipate this to be a good, but busy year. Aric our oldest (6) will be going into first grade, Alex our middle (5) is starting Kindergarten, and I am serving as the Communications Chair for our PTO (Parent Teacher Organization). When I started the blog last year I had planned on posting something every week, but there wasn’t much to post some weeks. I plan on continuing to post this school year on things that will encourage and challenge my fellow Christians to greater heights. Here are some tips for the start of the school year.

1) Go Back-to-School Shopping Early

I know there is the tax free weekend in many states, and I am all for saving a little money, but let’s face it unless you are planning on buying a TON of school supplies, you may only save a few dollars. You will already be stressed enough the week before school starts, why add more stress by going shopping the same time everyone else is doing their school shopping? Many stores start their back-to-school sales at the beginning of July. For our family we try to purchase most of what we need online and then purchase the remaining items toward the middle of July. (For back to school clothes go to the thrift shops, why spend 100’s of dollars on clothes when you can get all you need for 2 children for $50).

2) Let the school know they have your support

You don’t  have to be on a PTO board or school board to let the school know that you support them. Write and email to the principle, tell him/her that you support them as a parent and are available to help with anything that they might need you for. As I have said in past posts, schools really do want you as parents involved. Don’t overstep and over push, but find way to volunteer and help. (Even an hour helping put books on the shelf in the library once a week is a great help to the school)

3) Show up for meet the teacher, reassure the teacher that you support them

Meeting the teacher isn’t a requirement for a child to go to school but you should require yourself to be there. Going to this event gives you a chance to meet both your child’s teacher and some of their classmates. While there ask the teacher what ways you can help them through the school year. Let them know that you are glad they are your child’s teacher and that you support them.

4) Join your PTO

Why should you join your PTO? Because as a member you have the opportunity to show your support for the school and have a collective voice with your fellow members to voice support, concern, questions, and opinions to the leadership of the school. Take time to join them, you aren’t wasting a few dollars for a decal or magnet, you are showing your support for the school.

5) Pray

Certainly you should pray more than just at the start of the school year, but the closer it gets, the more you should pray for your children and the challenges they will face this year. It helps prepare your heart for the school year and helps your children prepare their hearts. Let them tell you things they would like you to pray for, no matter how “small” their request may be, pray for it, God cares about them enough to give an answer.

What type things do you do to get ready for the beginning of a school year?

9 Things I Pray for Each School Day

Man prayingIt doesn’t matter whether you are a person who sends your children to the public school, a private school, or is home schooled, prayer should be an important part of your day. Each night before I go to sleep and each morning before we leave to go to school I spend time praying for certain things. So here are a list of 9 things I pray for each school day:

1.Wisdom as a Parent of  school age children

In general no matter what age your child is, seeking God’s wisdom is a must.

James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

2.For my children to make wise choices

No matter the age of my child I should be taking time to teach them to seek God’s face in all the choices that they make.

Proverbs 3:5-6Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

3.For my children to remember instructions given to them

Each morning on our way to school I talk to my children about things they need to remember and work on for the day. During the first few weeks of school we talk about remembering to listen to the teachers and to pay attention. These times of instruction and instruction given in the home are a special time for our children to learn how to behave and what is expected of them.

Proverbs 1:8 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:

4.For my children to avoid troublemakers

No doubt troublemakers can be found most places that your children go, so it is important to teach them to guard themselves from them. One conversation that Aric and I have had lately on the way to school has been,

Me: Aric what should you do if someone asks you to do bad?

Aric: Tell them I can’t do it because it is bad.

Me: And then what should you do?

Aric: Tell my teacher.

Proverbs 1:10 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.

5.For my children to remember Who Created them and Who they should serve

Another conversation that Aric and I have been having on the way to school is: Who created everything, did dinosaurs live millions of years ago, how old is the earth, and did men come from monkeys.

Ecclesiastes 12:1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;

6.For my child tobe testimonies of Jesus Christ

I want my children to learn early in their lives that they have an opportunity influence others for Christ.

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

7.For the teacher to be encouraged

One of the most underrated jobs in my book is that of a teacher. Parents treat them like jerks when their child gets in trouble. Parents act like their child is an angel and the teacher is the devil himself/herself. Being a teacher can be a very discouraging position.

Ecclesiastes 9:10Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

8.For the teacher to have patience

If you have a child or even a few children you know how hard it can be to be patient at times. Imagine the teacher there in the classroom with 20+ students all coming from different home lives with different standards. Some children may be well-behaved, while others may have no discipline whatsoever. It can be quite overwhelming for a teacher to face a classroom each day, so pray for your children’s teachers to have patience.

Proverbs 16:32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

9. For the teacher to teach with wisdom

Now some people might say, “how can you expect a Public School teacher to teach with wisdom when many of them probably aren’t Christians?”. Well those people probably don’t use that same logic when they ask prayer for Doctors to have wisdom when they are facing a health situation. Not all Doctors are Christians but we still ask for God to give them wisdom and we should pray that God give our children’s teachers wisdom as well.

Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

Lord, there are many things that can be prayed for when it comes to having children in school. But above all we want you to be pleased and glorified in everything that we do. We need wisdom as parents. We need your guidance and direction when it comes to teaching our children. We also need you to work in our children’s lives to be a bright and shining testimony for you, no matter what type of school they go to. A-men

What are some things that you pray for when your children start their school day?