As September winds down, the new pencils have been sharpened and resharpened, new school shoes show the wear of steps between classes, and the lined notebooks start to fill with algebraic equations and traits of good writing. The start of each school year is energetic, shiny and new, and filled with potential. But as fall truly hits us with a Beacon breeze, it is good to be reminded of how to continue to live in the potential of each school year. This year in Seminar, freshmen have been in discussion about academic and personal strategies to maximize their four years at Concordia Academy. Today I’d like to share a trio of tips for how parents, too, can make the most out of what Concordia Academy has to offer.
Each school year, we encourage freshmen to step out and make new friends. In fact, making friends is often one of the biggest concerns new students face. With time, we see students navigate to old and new friends in shared classes, activities, family life groups, and athletics. Families, I also encourage you to be intentional about creating a community with each other as your teens experience high school. Introduce yourself when you sit in the bleachers at volleyball games. Show up to events and share what’s happening in life as many of you are facing similar highs and lows with your teens. You, too, are part of the CA community and your students will be in each other’s homes, cars, and lives. It is much more enjoyable when you are all in this together.
2. Be Visible
While your students may voice their desire for independence, they still like to have the security that you are a visible presence in their lives. The demanding schedules of families make it hard to be in all places at once, but trying to connect in purposeful ways each day gives them the stability of a secure presence in you. Make the most of the small opportunities in your day. The car ride home or sitting a few moments longer at the dinner table can provide space for reaching out in conversation.
3. Reach Out
New transitions and change can highlight problems or insecurities from the past. Academic pressures and social dynamics can create feelings of stress and anxiety. Remember that you are not in this alone. Your student is surrounded by teachers and staff members who can not only pray for your student, but can also pray with your student. Together, they can seek a God who cares for even the most trivial problem and can work in even the most difficult situation. You are not alone in that we have many supports designed to meet your students’ needs. Reach out and reach up as you seek to encourage your teens with an everlasting truth.
In Seminar, we discuss how students are given tests or told to take notes in class, but sometimes no one has ever really taught them how to do those things. They are just expected to know. So we spend time in that class going back to basics and learning how to learn. In the same way, you have stepped into the role as parents of high schoolers and, many times, are expected to just know how to do this well.
We all know there is no perfect formula. I encourage you to connect, be visible, and reach out as we work together in the next four years.