By Pat Ball
Director of Residential Programs
Pat Ball joined Bethel in May of 1993 with strong experience in the Human Services and Children’s Services Field, including case management and direct care. Pat became Bethel Team Leader for Residential programs in 2008 and Director of Residential Programs in 2012. Pat holds an AS in Prelaw, a BS in Sociology and Certification in Early Childhood Development. She has worked with many community services agencies, including NABSW, NACFA, NCADV, TCCY, TCSW and TACFA.
Heading back to school in a pandemic will present challenges for both children and their families. The best way to prepare is to arm your family with the Word of God.
Here are 9 helpful verses to share with your children and teens:
1. Finding Freedom from Fear
“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” Proverbs 18:10 (NKJV)
We know that God really is the Great Protector. So as parents, we must call on God for His protection over our children. Students need to know that God is with them if they take Him there in their hearts, whether at school, on the bus or at the computer.
Pray with them daily for the peace that surpasses all understanding and guards their hearts in Christ, from Philippians 4:6-7. (NIV)
2. Steering Clear of Online Arguments
“Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 2 Timothy 2:23” (NIV)
The internet is a minefield and COVID-19 has made many topics more polarized than ever. It’s easy for kids to get drawn into “comment” battles that can result in threats and even violence. Teach them to steer clear of this, especially in this year of virtual everything!
3. Pursuing Positive Friendships
“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers.” Psalm 1:1 (NIV)
Help your child choose friends wisely. They should never join those who make fun of others. Help them understand the line between friendly teasing and hurtful behavior.
This year, it will be important for them to socialize in safe circles with friends whose families’ COVID safety measures match your own.
4. Avoiding Profanity and Obscenity
“Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word is a gift.” Ephesians 4:29 (MSG)
The Message version of the Bible makes this verse easy for young people to understand. Remind them that every word has the power to bless others or curse them, to offend others or to build them up.
5. Guarding Their Hearts
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.” Proverbs 4:23-25 (NIV)
When your children keep their hearts full of good things then their actions will be good as well.
6. Resisting Drugs or Alcohol
“Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.” Proverbs 20:1 (NIV)
In times of distress, like we are in now, children are seeking to make sense of their changing world. Without guidance, they may seek to escape their fear of the unknown through the use of alcohol and drugs. Even before COVID-19, many kids in our community have been seriously hurt or have died due to drug or alcohol addiction.
When discussing this with your kids, be sure to mention that “legal” prescription drugs are as harmful as street drugs when they are prescribed for someone else.
7. Abstaining from Sexual Activity
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God.” 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 (NKJV)
This topic needs a lot of prayer and communication in the home between parent and child. Sexuality is a huge topic and social norms are changing. Families must take the lead in setting biblical standards for their children based on their values. Provide frequent opportunities for your child to safely discuss messages they encounter at school and in the world.
8. Being Positive Role Models
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV)
Some dangerous things can look harmless, like social media posts, teen parties and even teen sexuality, because our kids see so much of it. If they stand on the word of God, our children can be powerful positive influencers among their peers.
9. Showing Respect for Authority
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”
Romans 13: 1-2 (NIV)
God is the one who puts our leaders in place. That means our children should treat leaders, such as teachers and principals, with respect, especially if they are trying to keep them safe by having them wear masks.
The start of a new school year is a good time to remind your child that God has set parents in authority over them as well:
“Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord.” Colossians 3:20
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