Exchanging Lunchboxes for Logins

It’s a new school year!

My kids have always loved getting ready for the start of school. School shopping, new school supplies and clothes, picking out that favorite lunch box, and the anticipation of something beginning has always been one of the highlights of their year.

But 2020 has brought so much change into our lives, and this school year has seemed to bring more stress and anxiety than joy and fun trips to the store.

Computers and printers are hard to find, parents are having to adjust and juggle work schedules and jobs to accommodate online and remote learning schedules, teachers are having to do things they have never done before, and students are dealing with very different schedules, routines, and emotions in a socially distanced world.

This year is going to be different from years past. 

We seem to have traded in the lunchboxes for logins.

With all the unknowns that teachers, parents, and students are facing this year, it’s important that we enter it with a different mindset, a new perspective on our ever-changing school climate.  

Whether you are homeschooling, maneuvering remote schooling, or juggling a hybrid schedule, it’s important that we keep focused on thriving this school year, not just surviving it.  As a mom and an educator, I feel for all sides of this complicated time in our history.  

Acknowledging that this year is not going to be easy is the first step in dealing with it.  As I have been reflecting on how our family is going to maneuver it, 5 actions keep coming to my mind.

1. Be patient

Have you heard the saying, “Don’t pray for patience!” Sure enough, when you pray for patience, expect to be tested. But this school year we are going to need to be patient more than ever.

First, be patient with yourself. There is no guidebook for dealing with these unprecedented times. We are all trying to figure things out as we go, so be patient with yourself if you are struggling and don’t seem to have all the answers.

The schedule may not be perfect, you may not understand that 8 th grade math lesson, and the whole family working at the dining room table with their heads buried in a laptop may stress you out. Take a deep breath and say to yourself, “It’s going to be OK”. Then be patient with yourself and those around you.

We are all struggling to get through this season. Our kids are dealing with more stress than they ever have, schools and teachers are struggling to come up with ways to educate their students while keeping them safe, and our families are under the same roof for more stretches of time than in the past.

Let’s face it, we are all just trying to stay sane through it all, so let’s pack on a little extra patience this school year.

2. Be positive

Even through the trauma our country has faced this year, there are still blessings that have come from this season.  When we first went into quarantine, the stress and anxiety was so high, I was beginning to feel more than a little overwhelmed.  

So I started a COVID-19 blessing’s journal, and every time I saw a blessing or something good come out of it, I wrote it down.  I am amazed at how many entries I have added to that journal. Look for the good, instead of fixating on the bad.  Be thankful for more time with family, and the forced slow down we have all experienced.  

Celebrate the new accomplishments and knowledge that you and your kids have acquired while doing school together.  So many times as I have been homeschooling my girls I have said in surprise, “I never knew that!”.  Be positive in stating and recognizing that we won’t be in this season forever.  This too will pass.

3. Be flexible

This year has taught me to be much more flexible than I ever have been, and that’s not easy for a planner.  But it’s something that I have needed to grow in.  Every day seems to be different than the last, protocols and processes are constantly changing, and “going with the flow” has become normal.  

If you go into this school year knowing and expecting that things are probably going to change, it will be a little easier to deal with when it happens.  Try and prepare your kids for change, talking with them often through the process and allowing them time to express what they are feeling.  

While we know that our world is constantly changing, draw their attention to the things that will not change, God and His love and care for them and your unconditional love and care for them.

4. Be forgiving

Let’s be honest with ourselves and with each other.  This school year is not going to be perfect, and we are probably going to need to say, “I’m sorry”, more than we ever have.  Tensions may run high, and stress can cause us to do and say things we don’t mean, and often we say them to the people closest to us.  

We need to give grace and show grace.  When the kids are fighting and competing for your attention, expect forgiveness of them.  When you snap at your kids and lose your cool or when you snap at your spouse because you’re tired and can’t take much more, say “I’m sorry”.  When you get frustrated at the school system and the new protocols, be patient, and show grace and kindness.  

Send a message to your student’s teachers letting them know you support them and are praying for them during this tough time.   Be honest with them about your feelings, but do it in a way that expresses love and appreciation for all they are doing.

5. Be prayerful

Don’t forget about this one!  This is the most important of all.  Pray for this school year.  Start a prayer list just about this school year and write down everything that comes to mind that might be challenging for you and your family.  Involve your family in the process, and purpose to start off each day in prayer.  

Pray that God does amazing things this year, pray for new knowledge and wisdom to be applied, and pray for the safety of our schools and students.  God is bigger than anything we are going to face this year, and He is waiting for us to bring our cares to Him so that He can help us shoulder them well.  
You may not have been able to buy that coveted lunchbox this year, that favorite backpack, or that cool new pair of shoes, and you may be struggling to figure out that new login and how to maneuver your student’s digital classroom, e-textbooks, and their online dashboard.

Remember, God can still do amazing things this year.  Don’t just survive the 2020-2021 academic year, put these 5 actions into practice and see what God does through it.  

1 Comment

Jessie Walters - September 10th, 2020 at 7:46am

Thank you so much! This is so encouraging and gives great ideas to remain positive during the unknown school year !