In the words of Jesus, "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."

Yes, summer is officially over. School supplies line the aisles at all the department stores. Bedtime is rolled back an hour. And Mom is getting back into a routine. :)

Maya is beginning first grade, and I am plugging away at my degree in education. In a world where money is the goal, and school is the means to get there, how do we keep God at our center? How do we make our children separate from the world? As Jesus teaches in the 17th chapter of John, we live in this world. The difficult part is not being of the world. I'm looking for suggestions from you, but here are a few ways we have found at our home to keep Christ at the center.

Morning Devotions : I bought a devotional for kids, and we have begun reading this in the mornings. I have learned that my day starts so much better with prayer. Along the same lines, the kids' days go much smoother when they are reminded of the importance of God at the start of their day.

Nightly Bible Readings : For over a month now, Maya and Max have been anxiously awaiting our nightly Bible readings. They no longer go pick a book from the play room. They bring their Bibles, and we all read together. I think what makes this work best is that it is their idea.

Prayer : Obviously Max has never been forced to pray. :) He and Maya both have been taught to pray before every meal, to pray at bedtime, and to pray for forgiveness when they have hurt someone. It's important that they know that it isn't just Mom and Dad who are disappointed. God is always watching, and we should want to please Him. Remind your children to pray before lunch at school. The Lord can use them as a witness to others!

Communication : Preparing our children for school includes more than buying their school supplies. We should make sure they know exactly what we believe, and prepare them as best we can for opposition to that. Within our own friends and families, we have conflicting parenting styles. This is much more apparent within schools. We should be open and honest with our children, which (hopefully) will encourage the same communication from them.

Involvement : There are many organizations that encourage parental involvement. Take advantage of this to stay up-to-date on things going on at school. Make your voice heard. As my husband pointed out, we should try to be bold, yet humble. Also, try to read ahead in their textbooks to know what they are going to learn about inside the classroom.

Do you have any other suggestions? Let's try to encourage each other as we embark on another school year!

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