What Should I Do When My Child Get’s In Trouble?

As you can see from my first post of this week “Learning to be Patient”, that sometimes as much as I love my boys and think they are pretty good kids, they still can get in trouble. We are going on 4 weeks of school and Aric has already gotten in trouble a few times. I know it will take time for him to adjust to a classroom setting, so the question lingers then “What should I do when my child get’s in trouble?” So here are a few things that I am trying to do as a parent.

1) Trust the Teacher over your child

I was raised by parents who lived by the principle to “Always trust the word of the teacher over your child”. The truth is 99% of the time this principle is true and your child has done wrong. The teacher isn’t out to get him! In today’s society parents want to believe their children are perfect angels incapable of doing wrong in the classroom and unable to lie to their parents. This is a lie that parents want to believe about their child to make themselves feel good about themselves and their choice to not discipline their children. When Aric gets a note sent home for getting in trouble, I never doubt the note, even if he says that it isn’t true. Is there times that your child shouldn’t have gotten in trouble? Sure about 1 in a millions times. Trust the Teacher.

2) Talk to your child

The first thing I do every day when picking up Aric from school is ask how his day was. I ask him if he got in trouble or if he was well behaved all day. If he says he got in trouble, then most of the way home we talk about why he got in trouble. Most of the time when I ask him why he got in trouble he will say, “I don’t know”. Don’t settle for that answer, the child really does know why he got in trouble, it will just take some work to uncover the reason. Many times I have to go through verbally asking each point of the day why and when he got in trouble. I have to ask things like: Did you get in trouble before lunch or after? Were other children doing the same thing? Did your teacher ask you to stop? Did it happen when the teacher was asking a question?. There are a lot of other questions that could be asked, but the important thing is, is to get to the bottom reason of what he did and why he did it.

After the questioning process is done, I try to take time to explain to him that the teacher is just like “mommy and daddy” and “we expect you to obey her like you obey us”. Then if it is appropriate when he gets home he gets disciplined for the wrong doing. On the way to school the next morning, I review with him what happened the day before and what we need to do to avoid getting in trouble again. I also instruct him to apologize to his teacher the first thing in the morning.

3) Tell the Teacher “Thank You”

One day when Aric came home with a yellow face (that is a negative mark in Kindergarten) it had a note that he was yelling and making loud noises. This was the second time he had gotten in trouble for the loud noises and I was curious as to what the loud noises were and why he was making them. In a non-offensive way I wrote a note to the teacher including a couple of questions and a thank-you at the end. Here is what I wrote:

Dear Mrs. ______ what can we do at home to help Aric behave better in your classroom? What type of noises is he making and when is he making them? Thank-you so much for the good work you are doing!

It may seem like just a trivial thing, but I am telling you when a teacher is told they are doing a good job it makes their day! I want to make the job of my children’s teachers easier not harder, so when I show appreciation for the discipline they give to my child, it lets them know I am not a parent they have to worry about jumping down their throat for punishing my child’s wrong doings.

What are some other good things you have found to do when your child has gotten in trouble?

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Say No to the Phone: Lesson from week #2

I am sure there are a few lessons I could elaborate on from week #2, but I really just want to stress one thing that I learned and determined to do as a Father for the sake of my children.

Say No to the Phone

As a freelance graphic designer, I get request to call people or get phone calls at all hours of the day. Many times I end up doing work at hours that I would rather be spending time with my family, but I also know how important it is for me to work to provide for my family. With that said, spending and making time for my family is more important than working all the time.

Just the other day when I was waiting to pick up Aric from school, I had received a Facebook message from a client asking me to call them. My first instinct was to call them right that moment. I had been praying for work. I pray every week for 3 jobs to help us meet our financial needs. This was job #3 for the week! I must return the call, right? I decided at that very moment though, that making that call, and getting that job was not my priority at the time, spending time with my child was.

Say Yes to your Children

I looked down at the clock before making my decision. Aric would be getting out in just 5 minutes. Many times my phone conversations can last for 15-30 minutes or more depending on how much detail a client shares with me about their project. Knowing I only had 5 minutes before my son would be in the car, I decided his time was more important. I have since made a rule in my life, that unless their is an emergency (outside of my business), that I will not be on the phone at all while I am taking my children to school or when I am picking up my child from school. That 10-15 minutes on the way to school and on the way back home is a good opportunity to learn about my child’s day at school. It allows me to give instruction, pray with my children, and allow them to ask questions. It is so important for me as a Father to make sure that I make time for my children. I believe the Lord will bless me for saying “No to the Phone and Yes to my Children”.

What thoughts would you like to add to this short post?

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?

Finding Time to Teach God’s Principles

The frequent argument that I hear for those who oppose the Public School for their children is the fact that your children are surrounded by the teaching of the non-Christian schools for 8 hours a day. They will say something like “The school gets your children longer than you do as a parent, so when are you going to have time to teach your child about God.”  I appreciate something I read in the book Going Public: Your Child Can Thrive in Public, while the authors have sent all of their eight children to public school, they have stated that every parent should be a “homeschool” parent.  They did not say that every child should do their schooling at home. But they stress the importance of the parents teaching their children their principles as a family every opportunity there is. The truth is even in Christian homeschooling you aren’t being taught the Bible 8 hours a day. So to answer a question some have asked me “How do you apply Deuteronomy 6:7 when your children are being taught in a public school?”

Before I give a few ways I teach it, we need to look at the verse in the context of the passage of scripture.

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

Many people like to make this passage say something that it does not, this passage does not say, “Keep thy children in the house all day to teach them only the principles of the Bible.” Should the Bible be key in any Christians life? Absolutely. But you know we learn things outside the Bible all the time. If you have a mother who knows how to cook and clean, she didn’t learn that from the Bible. In context these verses are very clear on what we are to be teaching our Children, “love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might”. We are to teach our children to love God with everything. That is the command of this passage. So here is how I do this according the verse 7.

1. Teaching my children to love God when we sit in our house (when thou sittest in thine house)

Each time we sit at the dinner table we take time to teach our children about God. Aric is in school now, so while we don’t get to sit at breakfast and lunch together during the school day, we do get to eat every dinner meal together around the table. When we sit at the table before we eat we take time to learn a verse. We work on the verse until our children have the verse memorized. After working on the verse for the day, we take time to pray, not just for the food, but for prayer requests that are on our hearts. Why do we do this? To teach our children the importance of memorizing God’s Word and to teach them that God answers prayer. We are teaching our children that before every meal they need to take time to pray to the Lord who wants to have a loving relationship with them.

I also like to include in this part of sitting in our house, that the church should be an extension of your home. Your children should know that church is important to you. That your relationship with God goes beyond just words, but also is demonstrated by actions. Many Parents spend more time criticizing the Pastor of their church, than they do worshiping the Lord in the church. This is a poor testimony of the way that God has asked us to love Him, after all God did say if we “love Him, you will love your neighbor”. So I take time to teach my children the importance of the church and the pastor that God has led to lead our church.

2. Teaching my Children to love God when we journey together  (when thou walkest by the way)

I know not every parent will take time to drive their children to school. Most probably put their children on the bus as it is more convenient.  But whether you drive your children to the school yourself or wait with your child as the bus comes to pick them up, take time to teach them. On our way to school and from school each day, I take time to teach my child about who God is.

EXAMPLE: This week on the way to school Aric and I talked about subjects like this: What should you do if another child asks you to do something wrong? How long ago did Dinosaurs live? Who created the World? Who created Dinosaurs? Did we come from Monkeys? and a few other subjects.

On the way home from school I take time to ask what our child is learning. Renee takes time to look at his behavior for the day. I take time to ask him if anyone tried to get him to do wrong, and if so what he did when they tried. I take time to talk about his behavior, even if he had a “perfect” day. Why do we do all this, because we want him to do right, not because mommy and daddy ask him to do right, but because we want him to learn to love God. We teach our children this saying:

Us: Boy’s how often should you do right?

Boys: All the time.

Us: And why should we do right all the time?

Boys: Because that’s the right thing to do.

3. Teaching my Children to love God when we settle for the night  (when thou liest down)

We take time every night to have Bible time with our children. Renee and I take turns reading a devotion portion with our children. We don’t simple just read and send the kids to bed. We take time to explain words and explain why the “story” is important. We don’t stop at having a devotion with our children either, we take time to pray with each other. From the time our children had learned to talk, we have been having them take a turn at praying. We ask each person what they would like to pray for, for the night and then either Renee or I or one of the boys prays.

4. Teaching my Children to love God when we get up in the morning (when thou risest up)

This is probably one of the areas I struggle with the most as a father. I am not a morning person, I don’t like to get up early in the morning, but since Aric has started school, I have had to start getting up earlier than I am used to. One of the ways that I am learning to help my children learn to love God when we rise up, is to let them see their Daddy reading his Bible in the morning, before Aric goes to school. A child won’t care how much you say you love God, until they see how much you love God. If they see me reading my Bible and praying before they ever leave the house, then I truly believe that they will learn to have that same good habit in their lives.

What ways do you find helpful in teaching your children to have a true love for God?

Our School Age Child: Tips from School Week #1

So we made it through “Our First Day of School” and can now say that we have successfully made it through Week #1. I don’t know that I will write everything that we learn from every week, because let’s face it, there may not be new tips learned every week. But at least for this first week I can say “Boy were there a few lessons to be learned!”. I can say truthfully that this first week has been a great week, but also a very trying week. So here are just a few things I have learned from week #1 that I hope will be a help to you. (BTW these are tips that are good for any type of schooling, not just Public School)

1. Get your body adjusted before week #1

So I learned the hard way on this one. I am a night owl. I do much of my graphic design work late in the evening and many times am up well past midnight. This doesn’t work well when your child has to be to school by 7:3oam and you need to leave the house by 7:10am. So I decided it would be a good ideal to be in bed by 11pm or earlier each night. That would work great if my body was used to going to bed at that time already, but even when laying down by 11pm I still found myself awake till at least 12am. I really should have started preparing my body a few weeks before school started, but hey now you have no excuse to not learn from this lesson.

2. Give your child time to adjust

Unless your child is highly unusual and knows exactly what to expect from school the first day they walk into a school building, than you need to be prepared that your child will probably get some negative marks in the first few days of school. On day #2 of Aric’s school he came home with a yellow face in his agenda (in his school everyone starts out with a Green happy face, if they do something wrong they get moved to yellow, then to red, and then to blue). Under this colorful face it had a note “talking without permission”. It can be a very tempting thing to immediately decide that the child needs to be punished for that negative mark, but remember it is the first time they have been in a classroom setting, they need time to learn what the rules are at their school.

3. Ask your child’s teacher what you need to work on with your child

Aric is a daydreamer. I knew that before we sent him to school. After his negative mark I thought it would be best for me to ask his teacher, “What do you need us to work on with our child?”. She told us that he has a tendency to not pay attention. He was still out on the playground when the rest of the children were lining up. Why? He didn’t pay attention. He was walking the opposite direction of his class in the halls. Why? He wasn’t paying attention. So each morning on the way to school and each afternoon on the way home, we took time to remind Aric that he needs to “Pay attention”. Your child may make some mistakes, take time to ask the teacher what needs to be worked on, so 1) You make their job easier, 2) You help your child learn, and 3) You let the child’s teacher know you care about them and you let your child know you care about them and how they behave.

4. Learn to adjust your schedule

You probably think I have covered this already, but I haven’t. Yes you need to get your body used to the time adjustment, but you will also have to learn to adjust your schedule some. The first day of school we walked our child to class, but by the end of the week, we were simply letting him out of the car and he was walking to class himself. It took us a couple of days to figure out what time we needed to leave the house so that we were getting Aric to school at 7:30, because the last thing we want to do is get him to school late (even though he doesn’t have to be there till 8am, we get him there early because he gets to have breakfast in the classroom).
We also had to figure out what time was best to get to the school to pick him up. Pick up time is 2:45, but if you wait to arrive at 2:45, you have to get in line behind a mile of parents, waiting to pick up their child from school. So you have to decide would it be better for you to get there 25 minutes early to pick up your child and wait for them to be dismissed, or get there right on time and wait for 25 minutes after they have been dismissed (We opted for the 25 minutes before they are dismissed. I bring my kindle to read during my 25 minute wait.).

I am sure there probably are a few other tips that could be given about the first week of school. What are some tips that you have for adjusting to that first week?

Our First Day of School

DSC_0502Boy, today was a hard day. Today we saw our oldest child start school! We are going to be able to walk him to his classroom for the first week, but after that he will have to learn to find the classroom himself. The rest of the week should be a lot easier that the first day though. But let me give you 4 practical tips for helping cope with your first child starting school (outside of the home).

1. It’s okay to cry

Am I talking about you crying or your child crying? YES! Both, it’s okay. Now I was surprised that Aric didn’t put up much of a fuss when he got to his classroom. He went straight to his chair, sat down and started coloring and didn’t even seem to care that we were gone. But as I passed by other classrooms I could hear kids crying all over the place. After we left the school and got into the car, I saw that Renee was clearly upset that our baby boy started school. But hey it is okay to cry, you will eventually feel better about them going to school.

2. Keep yourself busy

After hopping into the car, comforting the wife, and looking over the items the school could use as donations for the classroom, it was time to keep ourselves busy. We treated ourselves out to breakfast at McDonald’s and then drove on over to Wal-mart and Dollar Tree to get some of the items on the donation list. After picking up those items, we swung back by the school and dropped them off to an ecstatic office staff, as most of the time it takes them weeks to get any donations. This made us feel good about our child being there.

3. Plan on being involved at the school

One of the things we have already been talking about for weeks, was the fact that we wanted to be heavily involved in our sons school. We talked about ways we can get involved, so that teachers can get to know us, we can get to know them, and we can see how our child interacts with their teacher and classmates. Contrary to popular belief, public schools DO want you as parents involved! So start planning on getting involved and it will help ease that realization that this was the first day of school.

4. Think about what questions you are going to ask your child when you pick him/her up

Start thinking about the questions you want to ask your child when you go to pick him/her up. Grant it, most of the time a kindergartener isn’t really going to have a whole lot to tell you from the first day of class. But here are some good questions to think about: What did you eat? What did you learn? Do you remember the name of your teacher? Did you have fun? Did you play on the playground? What did you play on the playground? Do you remember the name of the children who sit beside you? ECT.

What tips do you have for making the first day easier?