Summer is quickly coming to a close as school starts for us next week. I see reminders everywhere … the stores have been selling school supplies and backpacks for weeks. I am enjoying our last remaining days before it’s time to start filling those brown paper sacks with lunches again.
Now that my kids are older, getting ready for school is a bit different. I have one child who will go back to college, one who is applying to colleges, one who is dreading Algebra 2 and one who will get to play middle school football for the first time this year.
When the kids were younger the big question at the start of the school year seemed to be …. “who is your teacher?” or “who is in your class?". Of course everyone was excited and wanted to know if they would have a friend in their class.
Yet year after year we told our kids the same thing … it matters less who is in your class than who you are in your class.
Now that they are older, that advice still stands.
Maybe even more now.
So as we prepare to head back to school this is our message for our kids:
There are people in all of your classes who need a friend. Look for them and be that friend. Everyone needs encouragement. Some people will be having a bad day and some people will be having a bad year.
Love them all well.
Look up from your phones, sit by someone who is alone, invite someone to join your table for lunch or in your group for a project. Send a text asking a friend how they are doing. Bob Goff says “give away inexplicable amounts of love with tremendous courage”.
Yes, do that.
Make sure people don’t feel left out. It hurts.
Just because people aren’t in your “friend group” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be friendly.
Last week I was at your school and there were some girls from another country who were enrolling in the high school. It was obvious they were uncomfortable and unfamiliar with how things worked. I have thought about them so many times. Look for them in the coming weeks, make sure they can find their classes or unlock their lockers. They aren’t just getting used to a new school, they are getting used to a new country. What a privilege to get to welcome them here.
Maya Angelou said: “At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel”.
That’s good stuff. Make people feel great.
It might just a smile or a word of encouragement … but it could make a big difference in someone’s day.
Be characterized by kindness. Be interested in other people.
Your teachers, professors and coaches need encouragement too. Teaching you every day is not for the faint of heart! They work so hard … please show them your appreciation.
And, more than anything, be a reflection of the Christ that lives in each of you to everyone in your school. When you shine the light of Christ, you will light up dark places.
Each of you make us so proud … for so many different reasons.
So now go, be the good in your classes and have a great year! Cheering you on in life is the thrill of a lifetime.