Archives For back to school

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In one sense I hate to see summer go.... But in the other sense I love the thrill of new beginnings.  

We lift off into the new school year with high hopes of wide vistas, great adventures, and new triumphs.

But after 26 of these August rituals, I must confess to something rather unpleasant.

Long about 10 days after the start of school, I will experience a terrible letdown when my romanticized excitement wears off!   

We find ourselves back on the ground, wondering how to regain our momentum.

For no matter how many fresh new supplies I buy, we STILL seem to fall into some of the same old weakness traps we had last May!

Just yesterday I was making my own personal reality check when a new thought hit my mind.

balloon above landscape 85922275_758ba03b97_zLisa, what if this year you disarmed that overwhelmed, letdown feeling by making some new decisions?

What if instead of trying to pretend the "old giants" are somehow magically gone, you just went ahead and faced them now. And then built a new plan.

So here is what I did yesterday that caused me to wake up this morning much more prepared for the August ride.

3 Ways to Avoid the After-School-Starts Letdown

1. Remember
Go ahead and let your mind turn back to last April and May. I know the summer months are a welcome oasis (which is why I am NOT a fan of year-round school!)

But go ahead and remember the developmental challenges and stinky attitudes. But this time, do not let yourself fall into the familiar emotional pit. Instead use each one of those memories as a springboard for an honest conversation with the Lord.

2. Dig deeper
Here was my prayer:

Lord, what is really going on here in this issue? What is the root immaturity or wrong thinking pattern that I am not seeing?  How do I need to help my child grow out of this state? What fresh insight or perspective or tool do I need right now? How can I map out on paper a strategy and vision for my leadership over this problem?

Here are a few of the good things that happened for me yesterday during this step:

  1. I developed fresh motherly compassion.
  2. I began to see myself as a leader... instead of a victim.
  3. I discovered how one of my kid's strengths could be used to cover over a weakness.
  4. I found a website that taught me a whole new insight into one of the developmental issues that has been causing our household some stress.
  5. I made a plan to actually teach some new life skills to my kids, instead of just nagging them about how they are missing those life skills!

3. Do it now....don't wait

It suddenly hit me that for some of my plans, we did not need to wait for the official school start date! We just needed Mom to be like Nike and Just do it!

Maybe you can sense what I mean here. No fanfare. No grand announcement. No ceremony. Just a quiet stepping into what I already knew I needed to do.

And guess what? It worked! We took our first step toward greater maturity. And first steps are really what a good school start is all about anyway, isn't it?

I went to bed last night confident and at peace.  My Father God is so good to me! I am ready to take on the new year with a smile!

Image#1 : messycupcakes “Hot air balloon” via Flickr Creative Commons
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Image #2: Michael J. Slekzak (JW)  “Blue Moon over Fairbanks Ranch”via Flickr Creative Commons
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Mommy Moments

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Do our kids understand that their MINDS are being infiltrated ...constantly? Do they understand how to guard their minds from false reasonings and dangerous ideologies?

My own answer to these questions would have to be a resounding "NO!" They cannot possibly totally get it.  

They are the children—the protégés. They are not the mentors. And they have limited life experience.

That is why it is so important for us to teach them to think about what they are thinking about. They need to understand how brainwashing, propaganda, and mind control work.

And they need to understand how it is hard even for us adults to figure out the line between education and indoctrination.

We must teach our children to be thinkers...not just memorizers and imitators.

So as the new school year is getting started, let's pull out this topic as families and look at it. It could very well set the stage for many fruitful discussions around the dinner table.

Here are your tools. Some of these are so good, you may want to use them throughout the school year!

Here Are Your Tools:

- 10 Modern Methods of Mind Control

- Bible Verses on Renewing Your Mind (Here is a great scripture list. Consider using a second translation to look at for comparison.)

- 5 Propaganda Techniques

- The Fallacy Detective (Great training book!)


We love it when we hear from our readers!

When we posted this article a little while ago, we got an immediate concern raised about one of our links. The link to 10 Modern Methods of Mind Control is not our attempt to align ourselves with everything they are saying, but rather to provide a "peak in" to the many controversies surrounding this issue.   

All of us today will need to deal with the question of appropriate leadership that avoids manipulation and coercion. the lines can be very tricky. Our kids could even be told that we are brainwashing them into Christianity!   

Opening our family to a discussion with this issue and wrestling with this question through the scripture list we gave you "Bible Verses on Renewing Your Mind" is a prudent response.  

I appreciate the concern raised to this issue because I do not buy in to the cultural myth that appropriate parental discipleship is manipulation. Deuteronomy 6:5-9 makes this very clear. 

Perhaps this conversation is even trickier than I first thought! So please feel free to share your thoughts as you consider this important issue.   

If you have any good resources about this topic please send them our way!   Email Frontline Families.


Image: Daniela Hartmann “Do you find my brain?" via Flickr Creative Commons
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 Related posts:

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Parent/Child Conversations to Have before School Starts: #1




Conversation #2 To Have before School Starts: Lawlessness and The Great Falling Away


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Conversation #3: The Circle of Friends


Your kids' friends will shape who they become. How do we helpsoccer friends 11275093783_aa1a0dee7e them choose wisely?

How about finding a way to turn a negative into a positive?!  

As parents we are always concerned about the problem of peer pressure. For good reason.

We know what the scripture says (i.e. bad company corrupts good morals. 1 Corinthians 15:33) , and we know what happened in our own lives (i.e. we either got caught up in the wrong crowd or watched others get shipwrecked.)

But our kids will often say....

"But Mom, he is my friend!"

 It is entirely age appropriate and necessary for our children to form friendships and learn to build relationships. The problem is they are inexperienced in the process and prone to naive errors.

So is our helpful conversation #3: We must teach them about the concept of the levels of friendships. Who can we borrow some expert knowledge from to help us with this task? Interestingly enough, a casual Google search proves that "levels of relationship" is a concept talked about by everyone from the marketing world to the  ministry world. I suppose everyone has their own theories and terms.

For me, a simple bull’s eye chart makes a lot of sense. Of course, it is very difficult to get all relationships to neatly fall on the classification chart, but I think you can get the idea. By way of discussion, let’s say there are 5 levels of friendships and we use these labels:

1. Casual friend
2. Good friend
3. Confidant friend
4. Mentor
5. Jesus

You may like other labels better, but pick one set and run with it. Then help your kids correctly identify the characteristics of each level and who is currently in each level of friendship. This is highly diagnostic as you check their ability to discern!

Here Are Your Tools:

 - 20 Bible Verses on Friendship

- 5 Levels of Friends Article

Facebook Friends vs. Real Friends - Podcast

- When Teens Are Lost - Podcast

- Stages of Friendship

Be prepared. They won't "get it" without your help. They will need your wise counsel to help them draw correct guidelines as they learn to manage their own relationships.

I am personally not a fan of the BFF concept, as I think it causes so much confusion and pain. Can you see a way to mature that image in their mind using this chart? And while you are at it, help them to place online friends on the chart.

We all know that friends enter and exit our lives as seasons of life change. But kids do not know this. Help them to understand that when friends leave or seasons change, it does not define them.

And here is a big one: I truly believe that siblings and parents belong on this friend chart.

Parents are to be the closest of mentors.  And as some of my children have grown and launched, they are discovering that siblings are for life (level 3)....while friends move on.

How can you help your children cultivate healthy confidant-level friendships with their siblings this school year even as they may meet other new friends?


Lisa Cherry

Send us your response to this conversation and be watching for "Conversation #4" in your inbox tomorrow!

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We just finished our summer tour and are finalizing our fall & spring tour schedule! If you are interested in having Frontline Family Ministries come to your church, school, or event please call Lucas Cherry at 618-525-0002 or email him at Here is a link to our speaker packet: SPEAKER PACKET