A new school year can bring with it a swell of emotions, especially for girls. Sometimes, the anticipation of what's to come weighs on them more than we realize. Outbursts, tears, even silence, can surge when bigger feelings are swirling below the surface. The truth is that heading back to school doesn't have to be driven by drama. Want to equip your daughter to start the school year with more confidence? Inspired by Proverbs, here are three simple ways to do it.
1. Create a peaceful atmosphere in your home.
"Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife." Proverbs 17:1 (NIV)
Not only should your home be an environment that supports learning, it should be a safe harbor for your daughter: a place that fosters feelings of comfort and contentment. Inside your home your girl should feel safe to experience deep emotions and work through them. This can make all the difference for how she will react to and process through what she will encounter outside your home with friends, classmates, and school staff. As a parent, you need to own your ability to set the atmosphere inside your home. Take action steps to make sure it is one of peace.
Today, ask yourself the following questions:
- "Is our home a home of peace?"
- "Is it a place of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control?"
- "What changes can I make, or what new expectations can I set, so that our home is a place free of conflict and competition?"
How can you make your home a place of peace and safety? Here are a few practical ways to get started:
Take time to fill yourself up. If you don't feel known, loved, and at peace with yourself, you will not be able to show your daughter what that looks like. Take the time you need and allow God to renew your mind by reading His Word and spending time in prayer. Ask Him daily to restore and refresh your spirit. He will energize and empower you to believe what He says about you. Then you will be able to believe it and model it authentically for your girl.
Pray over your home and your family. Start each day with a simple prayer that invites a spirit of peace and belonging into your home. Pray for soft answers that turn away wrath. Pray against harsh words that stir up anger (Proverbs 15:1). It's amazing how much of a difference it makes when we simply ask the Lord to care for and protect our space and our words each day. It can change the "feel" of our homes, and you can lead well by setting the right tone.
2. Give her tools to manage herself and her relationships well.
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18 (NIV)
"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."
Sometimes, especially during the adolescent years, words are more painful than anything else. However, the Bible says that wise words bring healing.
Talk with your daughter and tell her that she has an incredible power: the power to neutralize insults, threats, and harsh words. So often, children don't realize they have the opportunity to counteract the hurt these words cause by bringing truth and wisdom to their conversations in the classroom or on the playground. Spend some quality time together talking through and roleplaying a few scenarios they might encounter. What wise words could they use to heal someone's hurt feelings when a reckless word is spoken? Decide together and practice saying them.
How can you further support your daughter to build healthy relationships? Here are a few tips:
Encourage her to stop and think. A lot of the time, our pace can make it hard for us to respond well to challenges or conflicts that arise. We are often so quick to react without stopping to think first. When faced with a problem with a friend or classmate, it's important to teach her to stop and think about how her words can speak life and truth into someone, instead of reacting in the heat of the moment.
Teach her that wisdom comes from humility. We have the opportunity to provide our daughters with a framework for processing their emotions in healthy ways, and it starts with humility. How do we approach conflict in our adult lives? Do we acknowledge that God is in control and do we seek His wisdom for the right way to respond? Show her that when we humble ourselves, the Lord gives us understanding to manage ourselves, and our relationships, well.
3. Pray together for God's will to be done before and throughout the school year.
Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)
There is power in the willful surrender of our desires at the foot of His throne. We know that God's plan for us is greater than our own. Praying for His will removes the pressure on her to perform or obsess about perfection. Whether it is in regard to her academic learning, her friendships, or her spiritual growth, lay a foundation of surrender and trust. In all things, pray for God's will to be done.
Commit to seeking God's will for your daughter, not your own. Are you expecting her to perform a certain way in school? Fit in with a certain group of friends? Play for a specific sports team? How much more present and at peace we would be if we lay our own expectations down at His feet. Remember, she is walking her own path and we have the honor and opportunity to walk with her as she discovers what God has planned for her life. It's important that we not only teach our daughters to surrender their desires, but we should make every effort to do the same.
How do we teach our daughters the importance of His will for our lives? Here are a few practical ways:
Show her heroes in the Bible that she can connect with. Spend some time in the Word with your daughter taking a look at women who sought His will. From Hannah's dedication to praying big and consistent prayers to Deborah's brave and bold leadership, give her a chance to discover how, when she surrenders, God can show up.
Demonstrate that seeking God's will is a lifelong journey. We can't expect our daughters to understand or grasp these concepts and ideas right away, but we can walk with them, one step at a time. Trusting God and seeking His will is a journey, and we are constantly learning and growing despite our mistakes and setbacks.
As another summer comes to a close, let's move with intention into the school year. Despite the emotions that surge during times of transition, may we create a peaceful and safe place for our girls to feel, process, and respond in healthy ways. May we demonstrate with our words, our expectations, and by our actions that the Lord is so much bigger than any of the trials she will face. By setting the right atmosphere in our homes, encouraging our girls to manage their relationships well, and seeking His will, we can enter into this new season with excitement and holy anticipation of what God will do in and through our daughters this year.
— Erin Weidemann, founder and CEO of Bible Belles and award-winning author of The Adventures of Rooney Cruz series, is committed to changing the world's current definition of beauty.
As a certified teacher, coach, and nationally recognized speaker, she offers speaking, workshops, and seminars to equip women of all ages to let go of fear and step into the unique leadership roles for which they were designed. She is also pleased to be a part of the Speakers Bureau for World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization.
A five-time cancer survivor, Erin lives in San Diego, CA and speaks at events, conferences, fundraisers, churches, and schools. Funny and real, Erin is also the host of the Heroes For Her podcast, interviewing celebrities, actors, musicians, and other women who are living out their passions in line with their personal values.