Remind Your Students of These Three Things
A good, timely reminder can make a big difference. Every year, the great state of Texas reminds me that my car registration is about to expire, and I need to update it. This is helpful, because otherwise I would forget, and this reminder keeps me legal on the roads. Likewise, as students return to their school routines, it’s helpful to remind them of their purpose so that, from kindergarten to college, they can flourish as disciples of Christ. As the school year begins, take some intentional time to remind your students of these three truths.
1. School Is About Growth, Not Grades
We need to remind our students that school is an avenue for growth, not merely an arena for academic achievement. We often tell students that school is meant to prepare them for the future, which in many senses is true. But if we’re not careful, we can unintentionally reinforce the idea that life is found in circumstances, or performance, rather than in Christ alone. Students need to see that life is not found in a job, life stage, or circumstance, but is rather found in a relationship with Christ and can be experienced at every age and stage. This perspective matters for so many areas of life and teaches students a more redeemed view of the classroom: It’s an opportunity to learn the content and character needed to honor Jesus in the world, rather than merely getting a GPA to suit their career path.
When you help your students see school as an avenue for Christian growth, you help them see that everything they experience is meant to help them mature in their love for Christ and ability to be an ambassador. With this perspective, every failed test, A+ grade, breakup, and 3-pointer is an opportunity to shape your student’s view of God and the Christian journey. It just takes intentionality to help them connect the dots. So, help your students remember that school is more about growth than grades, and help them celebrate this growth when you see it.
2. You Are More Than Your Performance
Today’s students live in a pressure cooker of performance. From youth sports and grades to the subtle stage of selfies and photos, students are expected to perform. Because of this constant pressure, they need to hear clearly and frequently who they are and where their value is found. They need to hear you remind them that they are who God says they are — nothing more and nothing less.
Whether it’s through their GPA, at a piano recital, or under the Friday night lights, our students will have numerous opportunities to perform. At some point this year, your student may fail a test, drop a pass, or sing the wrong note. Or they may ace the test, make the team, and even become the homecoming queen! But here’s the question: Does your student know how you and God view them whether they experience the highest high or lowest low this year?
We need to help our students be rooted in this truth: If you have trusted in Christ, you stand as righteous, holy, and blameless, completely caught up in the perfect performance of King Jesus. Our students are not the result of their performances, good or bad. They are found and fixed in the finished performance of Christ, and this can bring freedom to any student’s soul. Reminding them of their identity around every performance will help them see the true reason for any type of performance: to display the greatness of God, not self. If not coached, our students will naturally fall into thinking that they are defined by their successes or their failures. When reminded frequently that they are loved because of the work of Christ, not because of anything they have done, they will be more empowered to display the greatness of their King.
3. You Have a Mission
Once we’ve reminded students that school is about growing, and we’ve reminded them that they are who God says they are, then we’ll be able to remind them of their mission: to know God and make disciples during their school years.
Fundamentally, your students need to be reminded that school, just like anything else, is not about them. It’s about God. They need to be reminded to look for the outcast, to make friends with the new student, to get to know people, to stand up to the bully, to work hard in the classroom, to share the gospel, and to honor their teacher not for the sake of their image, but because this is how they fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. This will look different for every family and at every grade level, but the concept is universally true: If you’re a Christian, then you’re in Christ, and you have a mission to execute.
Help your students to think like a missionary uniquely sent to their school for the purpose of loving God and making disciples within the sphere He has given them. Help your students lift their eyes above themselves and their circumstances up to Christ and His commission. Remind them of who they are and what they are called to. Remind them of what school is for and pray that the Lord will use these reminders to create a fruitful year of life and ministry for your students!