Kids have an opportunity to shine the light of Christ every day at school. But what about when they’re not at school? What about those crazy times they can’t go to school? Like during the current coronavirus crisis, for instance. How can students love their school — from home?
Much like a home, school is more than just a building. It’s made up of a collection of people: students, teachers, principals, custodians — even the students’ families. They all form the school ecosystem. Those lives extend beyond the school, meaning your students can still have an impact, even when school is closed.
There are plenty of things that your child can do right now to make a difference. To get you started, here are a few practical ways students can share God’s love with their school while at home.
Make a Prayer List
Praying for someone is so simple and powerful, yet it can be easy to overlook or brush aside. Encourage your student to write out a prayer list for their classmates, along with anyone else from their school they would like to add. For younger kids, set aside a specific time to pray together and have them reference their list. A yearbook can also be a handy tool for this exercise, so students can go through picture-by-picture and pray for their classmates by name.
This can be as simple (“Dear Lord, please be with Ethan”) or as in-depth as your student wants to make it. The important thing is that they’re praying for their peers. And a funny thing tends to happen when we pray for someone — we begin to see them less through our own lens and more through the eyes of God.
Team Up With Technology
There are plenty of problems that come with living in an age of smartphones, apps, and social media. But there are benefits, too. We can stay connected like never before, and in a variety of ways. Your student can use a call, text, or video chat to reach out to others who may be feeling isolated or alone and let them know they care.
This one will probably be easiest for your kids when reaching out to their friends. But try to encourage them to connect with other members of their class as well — those who are often alone or may not have many friends. Your child may even feel the desire to reach out to those individuals on their own as they are praying for them.
Depending on your student’s age, you may want to make this a team effort. You can contact other parents to get their permission for your child to get in touch with theirs. And you can set ground rules. For example, your kid can only call someone else when you’re in the room so you know your child is protected and the privilege is not being abused.
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Look For Ways to Help Others
With prayer and caring communication, your student will have built a strong foundation for showing God’s love. As your child communicates with their classmates, encourage them to be on the lookout for ways they could be helpful. Is a classmate struggling with an assignment or topic that your student knows like the back of their hand? Help them set up a quick tutoring session. Is a family running low on groceries or other supplies? Tackle it as a team, picking up what’s needed and dropping off a care package at their front door. Exemplify for your kids what it looks like to help others, and they will follow your lead.
Take time each day with your student to talk about the things you are grateful for and be sure to put a special emphasis on the practical things that have been done to help your family. Foster gratitude in your child by raising their awareness on this subject. Point out how God placed people in your life when you needed help and how they answered the call. Then, tell them how they also are given opportunities to help others, if they’ll just look for them.
Don’t Forget Teachers — and Other School Staff!
If your student is out of school, odds are their teachers are one of the last things they are thinking about. But that doesn’t have to be the case! Check in with the staff members at your student’s school to see how they’re doing, and if they need anything. You can help your student find contact info and get in touch with them, just like they would with their classmates.
Remember, the school staff have their own lives and families, too. They may also be struggling to juggle family needs along with the responsibilities of their job while at home. Reaching out to teachers and other school staff to let them know they’re not alone — but are appreciated and cared for — can be an incredible witness.
Even when school is out, your student can still shine Christ’s light for those at their school. Hopefully, this article gives you and your child a place to start. Encourage their creativity and support them in their efforts to impact the lives of those around them. You may be surprised just how much of a difference they can make.
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