A song many Christians know comes from a Bible verse found in Matthew 20:26. It says “if you want to be great in God’s kingdom, learn to be the servant of all.” Showing steadfast love for your school involves learning to help and serve others. This is a concept you as a parent can share with your child.
Bring Your Bible to School Project Manager Bret Eckelberry says parents can discuss this with their kids during moments together before school. He says on the drive to classes is another great time to put together a game plan to love their school.
Danny Huerta, Vice President of Parenting & Youth at Focus on the Family, encourages students to think about whether they are a Noticer, Builder or Connector as they consider ways to love their school.
A Noticer sees the people around them that no one else sees. They identify someone who’s alone, hurting and in need of God’s love. A Builder looks for ways to encourage others, and a Connector bridges the gaps between people. The Connector also works to create a sense of peacefulness in groups.
With those things in mind, here are 5 ways parents can encourage their children to love their school.
1. Serve Your Sports Team
Those who play sports have unique opportunities to serve others around them. For older kids on varsity, Danny suggests that rebounding for the junior varsity basketball team can go a long way. A selfless act like that on any sports team shows that the upperclassmen think the younger athletes are important, and that they care enough to help out.
Athletes can also show their coaches gratitude as a way to love their school. Coaches invest a lot of time and energy into helping develop young people’s athletic ability and life skills. Writing a note of thanks, helping to set up for drills, or cleaning up the gym after practice and games are several ways students can show appreciation for coaches.
2. Notice What You Say
Another thing parents can share with their kids is that words are important, so start noticing what you say. A kind word said to a kid who looks downcast could make their day. Feeling noticed by someone can be a big deal for a kid who’s not very popular.
Beyond the words that your child can say, how is his or her countenance? A smile says a lot. Encourage your student to smile at someone and see the difference that makes. Most kids will smile back and sometimes it can really brighten their day.
Remembering birthdays also shows love for your school. Most teachers and students enjoy getting recognized in this way. Giving a card, a small gift or even a piece of candy can make a big difference.
Another way to show love is by helping out another student who might be struggling as they carry a heavy backpack, books or papers. Placing a sticky note with an encouraging message on a student’s locker is another great way to let kids know they’ve been noticed and that someone cares about them.
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3. Connect with Someone New
Challenge your child to pay attention to the student walking alone or sitting alone in the lunch room and connect with that person. Your child can walk with them to school or to class or even invite him or her to join their group.
The key here is consistency, though. Your son or daughter should be prepared to make this person a friend for the long term. This new connection can be cultivated over time so the other student doesn’t wonder why this attention started so suddenly and why it just stopped.
4. Help Your Teachers
Like coaches, teachers and administrators also invest a lot of time, energy and knowledge into students. Your child can show appreciation to them as well. One way to show teachers this gratitude is by helping them set up for events and activities and then helping them to clean up as well.
Another way to show love to teachers is to write an encouraging note thanking them for the nice thing they said the other day, or the help they provided on an assignment. Realizing that they’re getting through to their students helps energize teachers.
5. Set a Great Example for Others
Some kids feel overlooked and your child can speak up for him or herself when there’s a problem. Doing so can set a great example for other students who might be too afraid to have their voice heard. Sometimes seeing someone else stand up and say, “I feel left out,” can give others permission to speak up if they feel alone, or if teachers aren’t paying enough attention to them.
Students should never do this in an aggressive manner. Rather, they’re showing courage and assertiveness so they can feel included in the things that matter to them. In turn, that can help other students who may be watching.
Bret encourages parents to also set the example for their kids. Children will mimic what they see their parents doing. So if a parent is rude and disrespectful to teachers and school administrators, their kids will do likewise. But if parents speak kindly even during times of conflict, that sets the perfect example.
Parents, you can also pray for your kids’ school, and encourage your child to do the same. This sets a terrific example. Of course, you can’t force your kids to show love for their school, but it’s important to have the conversation. It might start with simple questions like “what can you do to help shine a light at school?” and “how can I help you with that?”
This encouragement will help kids who want to show love for their school feel energized and supported.
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