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Friday, August 15, 2008

Don't send your children to school without.....

I stopped by the local Chick-fil-A for lunch the other day. I was meeting a friend and we were a little early. By the time we had our food and settled in our table, the free standing restaurant was overflowing with tired moms and cranky children. With only a week left until the start of school, it was apparent that school shopping was the sport of the day.

Since I didn't have a diaper bag or even a purse full of wipes and match box cars, I was free to sit back and listen to the bustle. I was happy to hear several parents talking with their children and trying to encourage them about first day jitters. Some parents were avoiding the subject and concentrating on the purchases they made. Some children were helping to plan the strategy of where to look for their favorite item.

A family sitting in the corner caught my eye. Mom looked worried and her face revealed that her thoughts were a thousand miles away. Her daughter sat quietly munching on a chicken nugget and watching those around her. A child at the table next to her screamed with laughter and the little girl jumped and hid behind her mother's arm.

There's nothing wrong with being shy or being distracted while eating. There is something wrong with training your child to be "afraid" of the world. I don't pretend to know what was going on within that family - it could be some tragedy had just devastated them or they had been sick for a while....there could be so many normal and proper reasons for their seemingly out of it look.

It did make me think about the most important thing your child needs for school. You can purchase $5,000 of "cool" clothes. You can buy all the right school supplies. You can make sure they are on the "in" teams or participating in the "right" type of activities. You can work hard to be sure they know the Savior and that they attend a church that promotes their youth....

Without this all important "thing" your child will have problems at school.

School is a mixture of the best in our society, the mediocre and unfortunately the worst. Your child will meet all kinds and will have to deal with all types of situations, beliefs and personalities. He/she must have the one tool that can help them stay afloat.

A good self-esteem is the most important tool for your child's success.

Self-esteem is not about being sassy or being able to fight. Self-esteem is not about being popular or standing out in the crowd. A quiet, shy person can have a healthy self-esteem.

Self-esteem is living as if you know your true value. The value that children know and live by is based on the value parents place on their lives.

Do you stop your world and talk to them like adults? Do you value the problems they are having or do you brush it off as unimportant? Do you belittle them with negative statements like - "you're so lazy" or "you can't do anything right"? Do you appreciate the wonderful talents and gifts God has given your child? Are you working to build those talents and gifts?

These and many other activities will determine the self-esteem of your child. Get involved in their lives. Hug them at least 10 times a day. Don't forget to tell them how wonderful they are and what a fantastic plan God has for their lives.

When you kiss them good-by at the door, send them off to school with a healthy dose of self-esteem. A strong self-esteem is their best protection for a bright future.

God loves you,


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