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.
Kids have always had some reason to be nervous about the new school year, whether it was anxiety about math or fear they wouldn’t be able to find their lockers. But in this era of mass shootings, with bullet-proof backpacks on many student’s wish lists, our kids and grandkids need more assurance and prayer than ever before.
Here are 9 helpful verses to share with your children and teens this school year:
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 in their school with them if they take Him there in their hearts.
Pray with them daily for the peace that surpasses all understanding and guards their hearts in Christ, from Philippians 4:6-7. (NIV)
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Dealing with Online Rants
“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 it’s easy for kids to get drawn into “comment” arguments that can result in threats and even violence. Teach them to steer clear of these battles.
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)
So many kids are being seriously hurt or dying due to drug or alcohol use in our community. Remember to mention “legal” prescription drugs, which are harmful to use 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. If your kids need further persuasion, set up a visit at our teen mom house and let them hold a crying baby one afternoon.
8. Being 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.
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
If your teens or tweens have trouble adjusting to school due to behavioral or emotional problems. Bethel may be able to help. Learn more
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