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Kids, Don’t Screw This Up: A Back-to-School Challenge

by Coach Debbie

When I was a little girl, I would often start my morning with a prayer.  “Dear God, please make me sick.  Please make my stomach hurt so I don’t have to go to school today.”  I wanted to be home with my mommy and didn’t want to go anywhere near school.  More days than one, I’d beg my mom to let me stay home or I’d just convince myself I was kinda sorta sick and tell her I needed to stay home sick.

As the new school year starts for you and your crew, there’s always those few weeks of adjusting.  Bedtimes are earlier, lunch boxes are dusted off, and bookbags are filled with new school supplies (that’s my favorite part).  If you’re like me, there’s a family meeting lecture of “Okay everyone, let’s make it a good year.  Do your best.  Work hard.  Homework is required.  Be nice to others.  Stay out of trouble.  Don’t feel obligated to advertise that your mom is crazy and yells too much.”

This year, as you have your annual pep talk, I challenge you.  I challenge you to give your kiddos a CHARGE.  I want you to raise the bar even higher.  Not for straight A’s and perfect attendance, but for something much more crucial.

Out of your love for your children, I want you to charge your kids with this verse from the Bible’s New Testament book of 1 Timothy.  1 Timothy 4:12 reads, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”  This is one of my favorite verses about kids so go back and reread it.


back to school


Read this verse to your kids and feel free to paraphrase it so they get it.  Here’s my kid-friendly version:

  • Just because you’re young doesn’t mean you can’t be used by God.  Ask Him to lead you daily.
  • Your age is not permission for others to belittle you.  You are valuable right now.
  • Be encouraged and think highly of yourself.  You are awesome, God says so.
  • Set an example for others with your words and actions.  You will have a reputation; make it a positive one.
  • Each day you have opportunities to affect others for the Kingdom.  Don’t waste a day.  Other students may never hear about Jesus at home.
  • Your words can build up or tear down.  Speak carefully.
  • You can be a role model in your life.  God has chosen you as His ambassador.
  • Love others (but keep your hands to yourself, middle schoolers).  Encourage others, show patience, be kind.  Put yourself last and find ways to serve.
  • Be pure (again, don’t touch anyone, high schoolers).  Self-control is a demonstration of maturity in your relationship with the Father.  Resist temptation and set a standard.  Decide this today, right now.  Don’t waiver.  This is a way to honor your body, God’s temple; it’s also a way to honor your future spouse.


That little girl (me) who faked being sick and begged to stay home?  She grew up to be a school teacher.  Hang in there, Mom.  These kids are going to turn out great.  Even if they make F’s and the principal calls you weekly.  Keep having this discussion, daily if needed.

1 Timothy 4:12-14 The Message:

11-14 Get the word out. Teach all these things. And don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching. And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed—keep that dusted off and in use.



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