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August 23, 2016

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Rev. Eichelberger (a.k.a. Reverend "Ike") is an experienced Pastor, serving in Christian Ministry for 13 years. Over the years Eichelberger has held the roles of Associate Pastor, Executive Pastor, Senior Pastor, Hospice Chaplain, and Youth Pastor at faith-based institutions throughout the midwest and southeast. He has also served as an Academic Strategist and Advisor at Philander Smith College, Little Rock, AK.

Focus on Spirituality Can Lead to the Start of a Great School Year

It’s that time again! Summer is over, backpacks are packed, and school doors are wide open. Class has finally begun. The summer crunch has ended, camps are over, and kids are out of the house (even if it’s just for eight hours). Although this is something to cheer about and celebrate, we want your kids to be well-equipped beyond pens, pencils, highlighters and notebooks. As much as school supplies are important, being well-equipped spiritually is just as important, and is a major key to success. Below, you will four ways to spiritually prepare your children for a successful school year.

Instill a good work ethic. 2 Timothy 2:5 (NIV) states, “Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.” By explaining to your children that having a good work ethic is not only important to themselves, but is valued by God, you increase their appreciation and importance of performing diligently. We all have a desire to satisfy God. By making this an obligation, we not only produce good results, but God will also take delight in rewarding us for working hard and diligently.

Choose your friends wisely. Proverbs 13:20 says, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools suffers harm.” As adults, we know the importance of choosing our friends wisely. We know the consequences of having bad friends (peer pressure & horrible advice!), as well as the blessings and benefits of having great friends. Teach this to your children. A child’s social circle at school is important for a child’s entire well-being. Furthermore, spending time with friends who challenge your child, hold them accountable, as well as support them, sets a good example for others, and keeps them out of trouble. Last, it alleviates much of the worry you may have each morning as your children walk out of the door.

Eat Healthy! 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 declares, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.” Rather, watch what you eat! By reminding our children that taking care of their body is as important as taking care of their minds, this greatly benefits their overall health. When they understand that honoring their health is the same as honoring God, it may change their perspective. At school, we want their brains to stay active and focused. For this to happen effectively, they must eat the right foods. However, as parents, it is up to you that they eat a hearty and healthy breakfast each morning, and to be aware of what they eat during and after school.

Pray, always. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 exclaims, “…pray without ceasing…” As adults, we understand the power and importance of prayer. As we have been taught that prayer changes things, we must show our kids the same. Ultimately, we are the products of the prayers of our parents, family, and community. This is also true because we pray for ourselves and others. Tell your child to pray before every test, before every athletic event, before going to school, when arriving to school, and even when going home. But also tell them that prayer doesn’t have to be something long, it can simply be a thought, an inkling, or as short of two words, said privately to themselves. God does not need to hear an entire thesis and dissertation to answer and hear prayers. God simply wants a pure heart, sincerity, and authenticity. Teaching our children to pray now will not only develop their faith, but it will ease tension and relieve them of stress by knowing there is a God who not only loves and protects them, but also one who wants to see them do well.

I hope that you will find these tools valuable! I encourage you to add to this list, and hope that this will be useful as a great start to a great school year!

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