School is back in session! Although you may be ready for the academic routine, young people will be diving back into schoolwork, homework, sports, rehearsals, exams, papers, and more. Finding time to be with God and to love their neighbors will be harder than ever.
You can shape the way your students will experience this school year. Whether you invite students to partner with you or to do it on their own, encourage the youth in your life to cultivate these back-to-school practices as they return to the hallowed halls of elementary, middle, or high school.
Listening. Pay attention to teachers and coaches. Be there for friends. Be open to God’s nudges. Start each day by praying, “Speak, Lord. I’m listening.”
Perseverance. When life is tough, don’t give up. Press on in faith to achieve your goals. Find accountability partners to walk with you and to help you stay focused.
Questioning. Wrestle with God’s Word. Don’t be afraid to ask God questions. Join a small group that can help you grapple with faith questions for which you have no answers.
Sabbath. Make rest a priority. Seek balance. Find ways to refresh—body, mind, and spirit. Schedule “gimme a break” times in your planner—and keep them!
Noticing. Observe the ways God shows up in unexpected people or places. Marvel at the fingerprints of God clearly evident in nature, in other people, and in the shaping of your life.
Hospitality. Befriend the new kid. Welcome the stranger. Include those who are left out. Ask God to help you accept and appreciate what is strange or unique about you.
Loving Yourself. Be OK with not being perfect. Show yourself a little compassion and grace. Discover things you like—or love—about yourself, and create an “I Like Me” list.
Showing Respect. Love and respect go hand in hand. Learn to respect others by getting to know them. Share your story, and listen lovingly to the stories of others.
Prayer. Pray throughout the day. Talk with God as you do with friends. Don’t just go through the motions; be honest with God. Pray that you might become an answer to your prayers.
Pockets is a monthly magazine designed for the personal use of children to help them grow in their relationship with God. Learn more at pockets.upperroom.org.
Sandy Miller is the editor of devozine, a bimonthly devotional magazine of faith stories written by teens and those who love them. Learn more at devozine.upperroom.org.