By Gina, Steppes of Faith
Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6
For some of us, it’s one of the best times of the year. It’s back-to-school time! For three months, we’ve enjoyed spending time with our kids and soaking up some summer fun, doing this and that, going here and there and staying up far too late every night.
But, now it’s time to go back to school and all the focus on fun has everyone off their routine. Some of our kids may have forgotten about good behavior at school.
I’ve seen several folks offering certain helpful Bible verses for kids to remember going back to school, which is always fantastic. I love those! But, they’re all about what to do. But, as many parents know, sometimes we need to remind our kids what not to do too. At least, I know my kids do.
So, here are seven Bible verses to help your kids remember how to treat others at school this year so they stay out of trouble (hopefully, ha).
1. Don’t Hang Out with the Troublemakers
No matter how well you’ve raised your child, chances are there will come a time when he wants to test the limits and explore others’ personalities and lifestyles. The reasons could be anything from simple curiosity to misplaced pity to outright rebellion.
When he wants to start hanging out with a questionable ungodly crowd, remind him of what Paul instructs in 1 Corinthians 15:33 (I wrote this on a sticky note for my fifth-grader to see every day, by the way).
“Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits. Awake to righteousness and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God.” (NKJ)
You can follow that up with Proverbs 12:26 that warns us, “Godly people are careful about the friends they choose, but the way of sinners leads them down the wrong path.” (NIV)
Continue to emphasize the importance of choosing godly friends (we are not to be “unequally yoked” as followers of Christ). Help them beware that even godly friends may be heading down the wrong path and not the one that God set for them. Pray for your child’s wisdom and discernment and guide him in choosing good friends so he doesn’t fall into sin.
2. Don’t Be Lazy
Excelling in school doesn’t come as easy for some as for others. I was a kid who constantly struggled to keep my grades up. No matter how I studied or the effort exerted, soaking up knowledge just wasn’t a natural talent. Maybe your child is like that too.
Endurance in things that are tough to do is a command from God (Hebrews 12:1), not just in school but throughout life. Work is a must. In fact, God considers laziness a sin (Proverbs 6:1–11). King Solomon tried to warn his son about it four times in the book of Proverbs. Here’s one in Proverbs 13:4 to help your kids remember the importance of working:
“People who refuse to work want things and get nothing, but the longings of people who work hard are completely satisfied.” (NIV)
Work isn’t usually fun, but it offers satisfaction when it’s done right, keeps us from sin, and, ultimately, glorifies God. The rewards of avoiding laziness are always worth the effort.
3. Don’t Lose Your Cool
When the going gets tough, sometimes instead of our kids getting going, they lose their cool. Maybe the homework is difficult or there’s a problem with a friend or teacher and your child has a veritable meltdown. The outburst might be at home, but there’s a good chance it can happen at school too.
Controlling our tempers can be hard for anyone, especially for kids who can easily do or say something they’ll regret later. Kids who lack emotional maturity are at even more risk, which makes self-control (a fruit of the Spirit) something that kids need to practice early.
Proverbs 15 is rich with advice on how to train our tongues. Solomon starts immediately in verse one:
“A gentle answer turns anger away, but mean words stir up anger.” (NIV)
While you’re there, also take a look at Proverbs 15:4, Proverbs 15:7, Proverbs 15:14, Proverbs 15:18, and Proverbs 15:28. All of them warn us about what happens if we lose our cool and speak foolishly.
After he’s calmed down, talk with your child about what’s going on. Allow him to lead the conversation while you quietly listen, then…
- Offer godly solutions that are age-appropriate
- Help him to understand his emotions
- Illustrate the consequences of anger
- Emphasize the importance of patience and obedience before the situation gets too far
And, of course, always be ready to step in if necessary. Your child needs to know that you always have his back.
4. Never Ever Lie
Some kids seem to always to want to tattle tale or lie. The reasons why are enough to fill up a good section of any psychology textbook. It can be a normal part of growing up, but sometimes it can get out of hand. Believe me, I know.
One reason kids lie may be a neurological issue. One of my sons has ADHD which often erroneously makes him feel unloved. No matter how much we hug, kiss, caress, and dote on him, he just doesn’t fully accept or believe our love for him. So, he lies so we won’t get mad at him and make him feel even worse. It’s become a real issue.
We know that lying is a sin and, like all sin, it must be punished. The consequences can often be severe. Proverbs 19:9 warns us of this:
“A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who speaks lies shall perish.” (NKJ)
If your child tends to lie about things- especially things she shouldn’t feel the need to lie about- talk to her about the issue right away and remind her of what can happen when we lie or tell stories. Try to find the reason(s) why she’s doing it and help her work out a solution. And, talk with her teacher if necessary.
Lying should never be tolerated, so be sure to get it under control as quickly as you can before something terrible happens.
5. Don’t Be Stubborn
My entire family will not hesitate to mention again and again how stubborn I was when I was young. I guess I still am sometimes, although I truly try to keep an open mind now.
Kids don’t commonly choose to be stubborn. They just do it, and they don’t take advice easily. The Bible considers stubbornness (i.e. hard-headedness, stiff-necked, closed minded) a sign of foolishness and we are frequently cautioned against it. Instead, we should seek wisdom and understanding.
Going back to information-rich Proverbs 15, we read in verse one,
“The way of a foolish person seems right to him, but a wise person listens to advice.” (NIV)
God is ready and willing to grant us wisdom if we ask for it (James 1:5). He doesn’t want us to be foolish because that’s the mindset of the ones who will one day perish.
He wants us to be wise and seek understanding so we can grow and mature in our faith (Proverbs 3:13–14, Proverbs 4:4–13, Proverbs 9:10, Proverbs 16:16, Matthew 10:16, Romans 11:33, Ephesians 5:15).
Being hard-headed can keep our kids from experiencing all that God has for them. There’s no easy way to train them to be more open-minded and take advice (note: not by criticism), but we should encourage it as often as we can. When they finally open up, school will get much easier.
6. Don’t Keep Your Talents to Yourself
Each of us has a unique ability. We might be great at crunching numbers, drawing, strategy, coding, writing, offering advice, solving mysteries, home repair or decorating, teaching, or negotiating. Whatever it may be, it’s all God-given. We know it’s God-given because Romans 12:6 says,
“We all have gifts. They differ in keeping with the grace that God has given each of us.” (NIVr)
God instilled these talents in us so that we can use it to help others and spread the Gospel through the power of His grace. With such gifts, it wouldn’t be right to keep it all to ourselves. We need to share it with others.
Our kids can use their talents to tutor other kids, mentor, lead small groups, do small jobs for their teachers, and, most importantly, be examples of God’s love. Your child may have a unique ability to follow directions well or an uncanny ability to keep her head in chaotic situations. Maybe she has an amazing amount of patience to handle smaller kids or those with emotional issues. Continue to encourage her through the school years so she can lead others righteously.
Let’s help our kids shine their lights wherever they go!
7. Don’t Hold Back Your Compassion
Last and definitely not least, our kids should always treat others with compassion. It is the cornerstone of our Christian walk. It directly exemplifies Jesus and is the most important commandment in the entire Bible. We find it in Matthew 22:35–39.
“Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him (Jesus) a question, testing Him and saying, ‘Teacher, what is the great commandment in the law?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (NKJ)
Showing compassion can be difficult for some kids. My oldest son is one example. He’s naturally shy, so he often doesn’t know how to react or think of what to say or do when someone is in need. We’re trying role playing to help him discern how to handle different situations, but you might know a better way to teach and encourage your child.
Learning compassion early in life sets us up for a closer walk with God and helps us to develop closer relationships with others. And, it will potentially keep our kids out of the principal’s office.
It’s Going to be a Great School Year
None of us wants our kids to have a bad school year. Let’s remind them of what not to do while we encourage them in love so they can stay out of trouble at school and focus more on fun and learning. And, if they mess up anyway, be ready to forgive and talk about it so they feel confident to try again.
Let’s make this the best school year ever!
How do you remind and encourage your child to make good choices at school?
School can be a battleground for your child’s heart. That’s why the Bible instructs us to put on the armor of God every day. You can teach your child how to do this by learning about what God’s armor includes and how to use it. Read all about it in my article Daily Decisions: How to Help Your Kids Put on the Armor of God.