Last year—at about this time—I wrote about Anna starting junior high and how students can glorify God at school. You can read about it here. What about us as parents? What about those of us who anticipate challenges that will in no doubt bring trials, problems and difficult situations at school?
Every year I meet with Anna’s new teachers to talk to them about LVAS, the FM system and the struggles my hard-of-hearing student will have in their class. No matter how much I try to prepare them, problems always arise. It never fails.
For us, starting a new school year means dealing with apathetic attitudes, stares and questions. Each year both of us have to learn how to deal with indifference—sometimes from parents, teachers and friends. Unfortunately it gets worse as the school year progresses. So do the problems.
Most of the time I can dismiss the oh-here-she-comes-again or the occasional eye roll. Sometimes however, I just plain lose it. And let me tell you, it’s not pretty. It’s hard especially when I want to protect my girly from others who don’t understand or who simply don’t care.
This year I decided my attitude—especially my heart—needs to change in regards to how I handle the problems this upcoming school year will surely bring.
Here’s what I basically told myself.
Lean not on my own understanding. God wants us to rely on Him when problems arise and especially when we have to confront another person. Approaching problems anxiously means not trusting God. Instead, acknowledge God and ask Him for direction (Prov. 3:5–6, Ps. 37:5).
Focus on grace. Avoid trying to get vindication or revenge—it never helps. Instead focus on extending grace. Rather than seeking a reprimand or punishment, go after grace and see what happens (Eph. 4:29, Heb. 4:16).
Work with compassion. Ask, “What do they need from me?” Pay attention to the needs of others instead of walking in with selfish motives. God wants us to put others above ourselves (Phil. 2:3–4, Rom. 12:10, Col. 3:12).
Take the opportunity to speak into the life of others. Harsh words never help. They can destroy not build. Instead seek patience and understanding (Prov. 12:18). What can I say that will encourage others instead of putting them down?
Move towards restoration and reconciliation. Communicate facts not feelings. Separate the issue from the relationship and work towards moving forward. God doesn’t want me to hold grudges. He wants me to demonstrate what it means to forgive (Eph. 4:31–32, Rom. 12:17–21).
Listen. Take the time to listen instead of jumping to conclusions (James 1:19, Prov. 18:13). Hold on to what is good and let go of the garbage (Rom. 12:9–10, 1 Thess. 5:15, James 3:17).
Pray. Ask God for help and for an extra dose of strength and courage (Ps. 18:2, Ps. 19:14).
I walk into difficult situations at school the same way I start each school year. I rush into it without truly thinking about how I, as a parent, can set the example of what it means to glorify God. I know I struggle with this because it’s the last thing on my mind before walking into a meeting regarding my student. I don’t expect good things, I believe the worst.
Instead, I need to remember my purpose—to testify the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24). I need to approach these hard moments understanding God uses every single one of them—these frustrating, irritating, painful circumstances—to mold me, refine me into a person worthy of glorifying Him.
Let’s face it, our kids watch us. They listen. If we desire our students to glorify God in school, we need to set the example for them. We need to anticipate God to work in our lives so our children too can know that whatever they do—even at school—in everything they do—they can do it all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).