Giving Thanks for School!

1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

This verse is a hard one to follow some times, especially when things don’t go your way, but God was clear, the will of God is for you to give thanks in everything. Good and bad. Happy and sad. Whether you understand it or it makes no sense at all. God has asked us to give thanks.
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How We Handle Santa

UPDATE: 11/16/15 I know some of my readers were wondering how Alex (our 2nd child) was going to do with our handling of Santa. When I wrote the original article Alex hadn’t even started school and he was very outspoken about how he felt. I can say with gladness, that the approach we took with Santa has been successful with both of our oldest children! I can say with a certain amount of confidence that even when our youngest 2 that this approach should work for them as well. (Maybe in 3-4 years when they start school I will update this with how they did with this approach as well)

Originally Posted 2/5/14

So I understand that there are good families who allow their children to believe in Santa, and I am not here to tell them that they are wrong for doing so. To be honest this is an issue that some people at times go overboard with one way or the other. Some will say that Santa is evil, others will almost swear that he is absolutely necessary in order to celebrate Christmas. Whatever the case is, we choose not to teach our children that Santa brings them their gifts at Christmas time. But how can we do this when they are surrounded by friends, teachers, and family that choose to “believe” in Santa? We really handled this in a three fold manner.

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Christian Students Making a Difference…

Life Isn't a GameIt may seem that the average Christian student doesn’t make a difference in their school to influence others for Christ. I have often wondered that perhaps the reason it seems that way is because most students aren’t challenged to make a difference in their schools. Over the past 5 years I have started growing in my vision of what the Lord can do through a true student lead movement in the realm of schools, church, and local communities.

Something Needed to Change!

Last year (2014) I saw the Lord begin doing a work in my own heart in challenging the teens of our church to be a godly witness in their schools and with their friends. Most of the teens I teach are in public school, a few are taught in Christian School and home schooled. I put away the Sunday School curriculum, put away the student booklets, and decided instead of giving them a pre-made template of “Biblical advice”, that I needed to have a more personal and engaging time of teaching with them. I am not saying there is anything wrong with these books, in fact I think that much of the material is great, but a light bulb went off in my head when I saw that my students weren’t interacting, weren’t engaged, and after a few weeks of expounding on the same subject matter weren’t interested. You can only teach “How to find the will of God” for so many weeks before you lose a teenager’s interest. Something needed to change!
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When Opportunity Knocks

Wow after 9 months of no activity, people probably thought I dropped off the face of the earth! But I am back ready to write another article at least for now. I know they have been few and far between lately, but what can I say I am a busy man!

Have you ever had a great opportunity just all the sudden pop into your life. An opportunity so beneficial to you and others that you just can’t pass it up? I have had several of those opportunities come into my life the past two years, but before I share what those opportunities are I first want to make a few points.
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Audio Drama Review: Jonathan Park: The Adventure Begins

I first learned of Jonathan Park through facebook friends sharing what a great Christmas gift this would make for children. I took a look and was interested, but was afraid to spend $25 on something I wasn’t sure my young children would be interested in at this time. So instead of purchasing them myself, I told my mom about them and she bought them for the boys for Christmas.

I grew up listening to the likes of Patch the Pirate and Adventures in Odyssey on the Christian side and Old Time Radio on the secular side, so I have heard and enjoyed the production of good quality Audio Dramas. I would now add Jonathan Park to that list of quality Audio Dramas.
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Current News: February 28, 2015

It seems like almost every week there are news stories that slam the public school. So when I can, I want to take a “Current News” story and give my little take on it. This week is a story about a boy who was given detention for being late to school.

This is the headline that was put out on Facebook by Fox News

6-Year-Old Forced to Eat Lunch Alone After He’s 1 Minute Late for School

Above the headlines was the following description:

Six-year-old Hunter Cmelo was one minute late to school because his mother’s car wouldn’t start. So as punishment, the principal forced him to eat lunch alone behind a cardboard divider.

First let me say this about the media, as much as I like Fox news, they are just as guilty of blowing stories out of proportion as the liberal media is. In fact I would say mainstream media as a whole loves to draw people using deceptive headlines and playing on emotions.
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The Value of a Good Teacher

This post was supposed to have posted automatically during the first week of June, but for some reason it didn’t. Better late than never 🙂

Three years of substitute teaching at school has taught me a lot about the value of good teachers. Completing the first year of being a parent with a child in school has also taught me a lot about good teachers. The job of being a teacher is hard work and many times unappreciated.

The value of a good teacher can not be measured by the amount of money they make, as they are worth far more than they could ever be paid. The time they sacrifice in order to ensure that your child is not only succeeding in school, but in life, is something that is a rare find, but something a truly grateful parent with thank the Lord for every day. This is true of teachers in every type of school and every level of school; Public or Private, Elementary School, Middle School, High School, or College.

Aric has just completed his first year of school. As a parent I have to say that we were not only blessed with a great teacher but also an awesome paraprofessional. We have seen Aric grow leaps and bounds in not only his education, but in his social skills as well as his walk with God. Some would question how Aric could possibly grow in his walk with God while attending a public school, but I assure you a large part of it has been his teachers’ reinforcement of the principles he has been taught at home and their godly living. They may not have been able to speak freely about their beliefs but his teachers lived by example in front of their classroom.

Words could never express how truly thankful I am for the teachers God placed in Aric’s life this year. Mrs Beele and Mrs. Milford were a shining example of how valuable a good teacher is, and if they by chance read this blog, all we can say is, “Thank you for all you do as teachers, we have been blessed beyond measure to have you in our child’s life”.

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?

To the Christian Teacher in a Public School

Excellent article from a Christian Teacher in a Public School. Let our Light shine!

My Story, My Song

How many times have you heard the term (or one similar) “They’ve taken God out of public schools!”? I’ve heard it many, many times but so far it has failed to worry me.

Don’t get me wrong, it saddens me that a teacher can actually get fired if he or she offends someone by praying aloud or teaching scripture in a public school. It sickens me that some school systems (not mine) have taken the phrase “under God” out of their daily Pledge of Allegiance. It frustrates and sometimes angers me that other religions seem to be tolerated so quickly, yet Christianity simply will not be tolerated in some public school systems. It makes me want to cry out “What are we doing?”

But when I get completely worked up over laws and rights, I feel the gentle push of the Holy Spirit saying this to me: “When was the last…

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1st Year Comes to An End

In just two short weeks, we will finish the first year of public school as a family. While only one of our children were in school this year, we have learned a lot through this 1st year. Next year we will have two children in school; Aric will be in 1st Grade and Alex will begin Kindergarten. My hope is to give a few end of year wrap up posts to share the incredible journey this year has been. This post I just want to give a few quick points that we learned this year.

1) A great first teacher makes a big difference in how you  and your child views a school (Aric had awesome teachers this year. Thanks Mrs. Beele and Mrs Milford!)

2) Teachers need positive reinforcement from parents (most teachers are faced more often with negative attitudes and comments toward them then they are encouraged at a job well done)

3) Parapros are just as important as teachers.

4) Despite all the horror stories of public schooling, the majority of teachers really do care about your children and really do care about how you feel about your child’s education.

5) Schools really do want parents to be involved

6) Spending extra time with your child is key to reinforcing their education.

7) Children, no matter how well behaved they are, will still at times get in trouble.

8) School teaches you a lot about whether your child is a leader or a follower.

9) School helps you see character traits in your child that you may otherwise overlook.

10) School teaches you a lot about yourself as a parent.

I am sure the list could be built upon, but these are just some general observations from this year in review.