2006 at 12:38 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
Why do we make such a big deal about promoting biblical womanhood here at girltalk? Because…
“Today the primary areas in which Christianity is pressured by the culture to conform are on issues of gender and sexuality. Post-moderns and ethical relativists care little about doctrinal truth claims. These seem to them innocuous, archaic, and irrelevant to life. What they do care about, and care about it with a vengeance, is whether their feminist agenda and sexual perversions are tolerated, endorsed, and expanded in an increasingly neo-pagan landscape. Because that is what they care most about, it is precisely here that Christianity is most vulnerable. To lose the battle here is to subject the church to increasing layers of departure and surely it will not be long until ethical departures (the church yielding to the pressures, for instance, of women’s ordination to the pastoral ministry) will yield even more central doctrinal departures, like questioning whether Scripture’s inherent teaching about manhood and womanhood renders it fundamentally untrustworthy for the Christian life.”
(Bruce Ware, professor of theology at Southern Baptist Seminary – quoted in “Preface (2006)” by J. Ligon Duncan and Randy Stinson, Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood, edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem.)
“The church has been called to counter and bless the culture, not to copy and baptize it. All too often our churches reflect, rather than constructively engage, worldly culture. Perhaps worst of all, many evangelical leaders claim that if we want to reach the lost, we must become like them. This is a recipe for disaster. Dorothy Sayers refuted this notion: ‘It is not the business of the church to conform Christ to men, but men to Christ.’ That is precisely the challenge we face in this area of biblical manhood and womanhood.”
(J. Ligon Duncan and Randy Stinson – “Preface (2006),” Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood, edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem.)
“Someone is teaching women principles of womanhood. Is it the church, or the world?”
(J. Ligon Duncan & Susan Hunt, Women’s Ministry in the Local Church)
We yearn for the answer to be “the church.” That’s why.
2006 at 2:18 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
My husband returned home from Chicago last night where he was participating in The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) board meeting for several days. He came back bearing gifts, one of which I am holding in my hands right now (well actually, it’s lying on my lap since I am typing). It’s a brand new book. Or should I say, it’s a brand new version of the classic book—Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. If you don’t have “The Big Blue Book”—as the first one is affectionately referred to—then you must get this one, now with an attractive gold and brown cover. Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem, and published by our dear friends at Crossway, Lane and Ebeth Dennis. (They are the brave souls who took a huge risk to publish my two books—Feminine Appeal and Girl Talk, and CJ’s book, Sex, Romance and the Glory of God. We are forever in their debt.)
To whet your appetite for Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, here is a quote taken from the Preface (2006) written by J. Ligon Duncan, Ph. D. Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church and Randy Stinson, Ph. D. Executive Director, Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood:
“Two decades ago few would have believed that American women today (some of them mothers and wives) would be fighting in the American armed forces in the deserts of Iraq. Although there are occasional protests against this newly regnant egalitarianism—even at the secular level—there is no question that the culture is predominantly egalitarian. Against this backdrop, the re-release of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism (RBMW) is most timely, and it will continue to serve a vital role in shaping current evangelical attitudes about gender roles in the church and home.”
This book isn’t just for pastors or theologians. It’s vital that each of us ordinary women thoroughly understand and hold fast to a biblical view of womanhood in face of the relentless egalitarian pressure of our culture. Read this book and you will be informed, and inspired to the high calling of womanhood.
2006 at 1:47 pm | by Kristin Chesemore
Every new bride walks down the aisle in joyful anticipation of her married life. However, for many women, sadly, the hope of an ideal, harmonious, marriage quickly fades. Maybe their husband is neglectful and unkind—consumed by work or other interests. Maybe their husband persists in sinful patterns of lust and pornography. Or maybe their husband has ceased to love them. Whatever the situation, they may feel disillusioned, alone, and full of despair.
In her book, Feminine Appeal, my mom offers words of comfort from God’s Word:
“If you are in an exceptionally trying situation with your husband, I encourage you to pour out your heart to the Lord of love. He knows, He sees, and He hears; and though your tears may be lost on your husband, they are not lost on your heavenly Father. He is the compassionate Lord who urges us to draw near to Him so ‘that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need’ (Heb. 4:16).”
This week, on the marriedlife blog, my husband Brian has also sought to extend care and hope in a series entitled “Finding God in my Difficult Marriage.” Among the questions he answers are:
If you’ve found yourself asking one or more of these questions, let me urge you to read these posts, as well as the concluding post: “Armed with Faith in my Marriage.” They will encourage you in the midst of your marital difficulties, help you draw strength from God, and recognize the power of faith in His promises.
2006 at 11:00 am | by Carolyn Mahaney
If you read the tributes that we posted for Mother’s Day last May, you will undoubtedly remember the one composed for Kathy Bowers by her daughter Jeanie. After a long and courageous battle with cancer, Kathy went home to be with the Savior on August 21, 2006. Her memorial service was held Friday night. The way she prized the glorious gospel—both in her living and in her dying—profoundly affected each of us who knew her. We post Kathy’s tribute again today to freshly inspire each of us to “run with endurance the race that is set before us looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb.12:1-2).
To the Bowers family: Our hearts and prayers are with you. Kathy will be deeply missed!
A Tribute to Kathy Bowers
I want to honor my mother, Kathy Bowers, for teaching me the most important thing in life, that Christ has taken care of my greatest need by dying on the Cross for my sins, and that is what truly matters. You see, my mom has only weeks left to live. She has been heroically battling cancer for the past 7 years and unless the Lord chooses to heal her, she will soon be home with Him. My mom’s life beautifully portrays a deep trust in the truth of the Gospel in ALL areas of her life. As she faces death, she has not even a hint of fear. She knows she is going to be with the Lord, and when she talks about it, she does so with a huge smile and great excitement. Mom has suffered severely this past year, often in intense pain, yet has never once complained. She tells others often that she deserves God’s wrath and anything else is pure grace! She is a perfect example of joy in the midst of suffering. She trusts God completely—he is her solid rock that she stands on in trying times and because of that she has a steady faith that does not waver with the changing circumstances.
Mom lives with the truth of the Gospel in full view every day. There have been times when she has been in the emergency room in extreme pain and she has shared the Gospel with the nurse caring for her. She recently had a party held in her honor at which she spent twenty minutes sharing with her 200 guests that she has no fear in the face of death, that she is going to the place she was created for and it is because she has put her trust in the Gospel. She then shared the Gospel with all who were there. Mom has been sharing the Gospel with unbelievers her whole life—from women in her neighborhood, to orphans in Mexico.
Mom has lived the 50 years of her life on this earth serving heroically and focusing on others. She has impacted hundreds through her example, but I believe my family has been the most blessed by her. She has faithfully loved her husband and three children. She has faithfully served us. She has laid down her life for us and made us her priority. She has set an amazing example for my sister and me to follow as a wife and mother.
Mom has also faithfully discipled my sister and me. She has set an example for us of a women deeply in love with the Lord and His Word. She always told us being in the Lord’s Word was her favorite part of the day. Even now, when at times she is so fatigued that she cannot read, she asks others to read to her. She has faithfully met with my sister and me week in and week out, caring for our hearts and teaching us to be godly women. She has always made herself available to talk to us, dropping whatever she is doing. Even now that she is sick, she makes a point to still ask about our day and our devotions. Without hesitation all three of her children would call her both their Hero and their best friend.
As Mom’s life on this earth is coming to an end, it is evident to all that this woman ran the race hard and has glorified the Lord with her life. She is leaving behind a legacy of faith that will be legendary and inspire many. She has taught us how to rejoice in suffering and to live in light of eternity. She has taught us that placing our trust in the Gospel is truly what matters and that we should yearn to be with the Lord in Heaven.
Mom, I love you so much. Thank you for the godly woman you are. I will deeply miss you when you go home to be with the Lord, but praise Him that we never have to say goodbye. A crown of righteousness is awaiting you!
2006 at 8:17 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
Fun Stuff Friday Funnies
This week we want you to enjoy someone else’s Friday humor. Have a good laugh!
May God’s grace be with you this weekend!
for my girlies—Nicole, Kristin, and Janelle
2006 at 1:08 pm | by Janelle Bradshaw
Series Girltalk Book Club
“Rahab is extraordinary precisely because she received extraordinary grace.” This statement by Dr. MacArthur from page 16 describes all of us. Whether you were saved while still a tiny thing or after many years of rebellion, your story is truly extraordinary.
Thank you for the many stories of extraordinary grace you sent our way. It’s always tough to choose. Our question from chapter 3, “How does ‘what you once were’ magnify the glory of divine grace?” was vividly captured by Stacy Reaoch:
I love to look back in my life and remember where I was before God divinely intervened! It is always a wonderful reminder of His sovereign grace in my life. I was a freshman at Michigan State University and the ways of the world were knocking at my door. Although I had lived a fairly tame, “nominal” Christian life up until this point, things were changing. I was enjoying the freedom of college life—partying, flirting, and I was being increasingly influenced by my liberal classes. I took a feminist theory writing class, which quickly became my most beloved class. After writing a paper entitled, “I Am a Feminist”, my professor kept me after class to tell me we were kindred spirits. As you can imagine, I was all about “a woman’s right to choose!” and constantly wanting to battle the supposed oppression of women.
Yet at this same pivotal time in my life, the Lord was at work. Although I lived in an enormous freshman dormitory complex with very little Christian influence, God sovereignly placed me next door to two Christian girls. They began sharing the Gospel with me and invited me to a Bible study. At the same time I was dating my high school sweetheart (now my husband) who truly was a Christian and attending Wheaton College—the clear opposite of MSU! God had used Ben and his family to plant seeds that were now being watered. It’s so interesting for me to go back and see one of the major issues the Lord used to draw me to Himself. My increasing interest in the feminist agenda was in conflict over what I knew some Christians believed. I remember attending a “relationship panel” put on by women in Campus Crusade. Oh how I pitied those women who believed in submission and adhered to such strict Biblical principals! I tried to debate them with the minute bit of knowledge I had. I loathed the texts in Scripture like Ephesians 5 and 1 Timothy 2. They were so offensive to me and everything I thought I stood for.
Nonetheless, God used my battle against biblical womanhood to draw me to Himself. I began attending the Bible study, Crusade meetings and churches to discover what the Bible was really saying. I wanted to understand to prove my points about the oppression of woman. But God used this battle to engage my mind in His Word and His purposes for my life. After much debate, prayer, and time spent with godly women who invested in me, I placed my trust in Christ for the forgiveness of my sins. As I began to grown in my knowledge of the Lord, I learned to embrace the beauty of biblical womanhood. I’m not saying everything happened at once. I still debated my future husband over why women couldn’t be pastors (after all, he was called to pastor so why couldn’t I?!) I struggled with difficult texts about the roles of women but eventually embraced the complementary design God created for us. Ten years later spreading a passion for God’s glory through embracing biblical manhood and womanhood is one of my greatest desires!
I sometimes wonder what my life may be like if God had not intervened. Oh, how much He has spared me from in this life and the next! I praise God who called me out of darkness into His marvelous light! To His name alone be glory forever! Amen.
Thank you Stacy!
Next week’s question, from the life of Ruth is based on a quote from page 77:
“Nothing happens by ‘chance,’ but God is always behind the scenes, working all things together for the good of His people (Rom. 8:28). There is no such thing as ‘luck’ or ‘fate’ for believers.”
Given this truth, tell us about a circumstance in your life where you now see God was working “behind the scenes” for your good?
Can’t wait to read your answers!
2006 at 1:31 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
A dear friend of mine is walking through some relational challenges at present. With a longing to encourage, I emailed the following quote—a favorite of mine—to her today. I know for me, I am quick to sinfully judge or become bitter when I feel someone has sinned against me. Yet I need to be swift to see God’s hand behind any wrong—whether it is real or only imagined. (How many times have I made uncharitable judgments of others only to find out later that I was mistaken?!)
These words of Jonathan Edwards have helped me to get my eyes off others (and myself!) and to look to God. If you are facing difficulties in a relationship—whether it is with a co-worker, a friend or even a family member—I pray this 18th century quote will provide you with a Godward perspective today:
Love to God disposes men to see his hand in everything; to own him as the governor of the world, and the director of providence; and to acknowledge his disposal in everything that takes place. And the fact, that the hand of God is a great deal more concerned in all that happens to us than the treatment of men is, should lead us, in a great measure, not to think of things as from men, but to have respect to them chiefly as from God—as ordered by his love and wisdom, even when their immediate source may be the malice or heedlessness of a fellow-man. And if we indeed consider and feel that they are from the hand of God, then we shall be disposed meekly to receive and quietly to submit to them, and to own that the greatest injuries received from men are justly and even kindly ordered of God, and so be far from any ruffle or tumult of mind on account of them. (Jonathan Edwards, Charity and Its Fruits, pp. 79-80)
2006 at 3:49 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
Biblical Womanhood Prayer
Prayer has always been a weak discipline in my life. I love to study, and therefore it is not uncommon for me to get so engrossed in whatever I am studying during my daily devotions that I don’t leave enough time for unhurried prayer. Whenever this happens, I simply resort to praying on the run—not a recommended prescription for a healthy prayer life!
So this past May during my planning retreat I came up with a new plan for daily prayer. I rearranged my morning routine to make sure I have ample time to pray. I also typed out numerous Bible verses and prayers that I have collected from others to further help me when I pray.
I shared one of these prayers with you last week and there is one more I want to share with you again today. It’s a prayer I pray for my 13 year old son, Chad, derived from Psalm 12:7—You will guard us from this generation forever:
Lord, may Chad rise above his age as the mountaintops above the clouds. Fulfill in Chad the faithful saying of this verse! Guard him from this generation, from being polluted by its evil influence. Thank you for those two assuring words that declare, “You will.” (Adapted from Psalms Volume I, Charles Spurgeon)
Our teenagers face a three-fold enemy (as do we all): the world, the flesh and the devil. With this prayer, I am specifically asking that God help Chad to resist the temptations of this ungodly world and instead live for the delights of following the Savior. I hope it inspires you to pray with faith for your sons and daughters.
2006 at 4:44 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Biblical Womanhood Living Intentionally
You’ll have to pardon me. I don’t have a lot to say these days about anything except surviving morning sickness. I know there are big things going on in the world right now. But for me, life is simply about keeping breakfast down.
When I feel desperate in the face of another day of sickness, I think about the strong women I know who’ve endured much worse in order to give birth to their children—most notably, my great-great grandmother, Catherine Layman (pictured left with husband Martin). Here’s her story:
“Catherine was…born prematurely [in 1855] weighing one and a half pounds, and small enough to fit in a quart measure. Tradition tells us that her face could be covered by a half-dollar and her palm by a grain of corn. She was fed with a medicine dropper and carried around on a pillow wrapped in a blanket until age six months.” (Martin A. Lahman Family History)
At age nine, when her family fled the Civil War, she weighed a mere 37 ½ pounds. As full-grown adult, she was only 4 feet, 10 inches tall. But, this little lady went on to bear 15 children—one of whom was my great-grandfather John Calvin Layman, (gotta love those Reformed roots!).
My point? If Great-Great Grandma Kate can have 15 children, well, then I can make it through pregnancy number two.
As interesting as Catherine’s story is, I draw even more encouragement from women I know—especially my mom, but also my Aunt Janice, and other dear friends whose morning sickness was much more potent than mine is. I vividly remember both my mom and aunt faithfully caring for their families in between trips to the nearest facility. I have dear friends who have managed households and toddlers while feeling wretchedly ill.
I’m sure none of them realized they were teaching me in those moments. But they were. Their lessons of perseverance, of faithfulness, of peace and joy in difficulty and of love for their families have marked my life. I find strength in God to make it through the day because they did it first.
2006 at 2:17 pm | by Kristin Chesemore
As parents, Brian and I are eager to get our hands on any resource that will help us teach and train our children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Recently, Brian came across a book that, although small in size, is substantial in value. Originally written by the Reverend Thomas G. Kay, and updated by Shirley Windham, it is entitled, Train Up A Child.
Shirley Windham is actually a friend of a friend so to speak, as she is a member of Ligon Duncan’s First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi. Dr. Duncan—besides being a very dear friend of my dad’s is also one of the Together for the Gospel foursome.
Train up a Child is a 32-page simple discipleship program for children ages 3-17. It is a guide for instructing your child in both Bible memorization and basic theology. For each year of your child’s life you’ll find a brief (one to two page) plan, thematically arranged. There are hymns to learn each year as well as suggested books to read with your children. And the plan is easily modified to fit your preferences or child’s comprehension level. Even though we don’t adhere to the author’s views on infant baptism, this tool will help you to be intentional and effective in teaching God’s Word to your children. We’re excited about using it with our three sons!
2006 at 7:35 pm | by Janelle Bradshaw
Fun Stuff Friday Funnies
Check out this Friday Funny…Thanks Cara!
Used cows for sale? Makes me wonder how much new cows are and do they depriciate in value like cars? What do you use a used cow for? Who knows! Cara Croft
You’ll find us right back here on Monday. Take Care!
for Carolyn, Nicole, and Kristin
2006 at 3:17 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Series Girltalk Book Club
Last week’s question, “Like Sarah, what "earthly inconvenience" are you experiencing, and how is it "mitigated by the promise of eternal blessing?” provoked a number of wonderful answers. Whether it is the waiting for children or the difficulty of moving (while pregnant!) or the daily struggle with indwelling sin or even the trial of losing something of value—so many of you are hoping in God like Sarah did. The woman we chose to answer this week’s question—Jelinas Lim—has a firm hold of the promises of God in the midst of her earthly inconvenience. May you be encouraged by her example to trust in God’s Word.
I am twenty-eight years old and unmarried, and it sure is an earthly inconvenience.
Aside from the practical inconveniences like not having a man around to fix leaky faucets or help carry in the groceries, there are also spiritual and emotional inconveniences, like not having someone to rebuke you when you are wasting time at home or not having someone to encourage you when you’re discouraged.
It’s even inconvenient to go to weddings. You have to drive yourself and then sit at the reception with a bunch of twenty-three-year-olds because they’re the only other ones who are also still single, as you watch the twenty-five-year-old newlyweds rejoice because they’ve “finally” found God’s will for them.
But, as Sarah trusted in the promise of eternal blessing, I resolve to trust in the promise of eternal blessing. It matters not what I am lacking in my life today because I know what I am not lacking. I am not lacking a single thing that I need for life and godliness. The Lord has graciously provided all I need for that, daily.
How can I complain about loneliness when I know that, even if my bed is in the depths, God is with me? How can I complain about not having enough help when the Lord has promised that the Holy Spirit will be my helper? And why would I complain about getting older when each day that passes only brings me closer to my Savior?
God gives grace. Even when He’s not dispensing husbands, He’s daily dispensing grace. He has promised that those who obey Him will see his goodness in the land of the living. And I believe it because I see it every day. Praise God for His faithfulness to this precious promise!
Next week’s profile offers another opportunity to praise God for His grace—the extraordinary story of Rahab. Dr. MacArthur encapsulates “the lesson of her life” in the following sentence: “The disturbing fact about what she once was simply magnifies the glory of divine grace, which is what made her the extraordinary woman she became.” From that lesson comes this week’s question: “How does ‘what you once were’ magnify the glory of divine grace?”
Given the personal nature of this question, we completely understand if you would like us to post your answer anonymously. Remember that all answers are due by midnight Thursday. May you rejoice in God’s grace as you read Chapter Four: “A Horrible Life Redeemed.”
2006 at 5:37 pm | by Janelle Bradshaw
Series Girltalk Book Club
You still have 7 hours, 24 minutes, and 10 seconds to send in your answer to this weeks question from chapter two:
Like Sarah, what “earthly inconvenience” are you experiencing, and how is it “mitigated by the promise of eternal blessing”?
2006 at 11:55 am | by Kristin Chesemore
To wrap up our “Back to School Prep” here are some great tips for making lunch a little more exciting. Actually, you don’t need to have school-age kids to appreciate these suggestions. I’m going to try them on my little boys!
—Instead of sandwiches, use pita bread, tortillas, or even Indian fry bread to make them exciting… and there are even a lot of different types of bread to work with: zucchini bread, pumpkin bread, pumpernickel bread, potato bread, etc. There is no need to stick with plain white or wheat sandwich bread.
—Make baked meat or vegetable pies (baked right before school or the night before). Or send hot soup, stew, or dip in a thermos (heat up the soup, pour boiling water in the thermos to warm it, pour the water out, then pour the hot soup in. It should still be warm at lunchtime.)
—You can jazz up fruit and veggies by cutting them up in neat shapes (you can buy special knives for slicing in zig-zags, for instance), and try new and exciting dips (why have ranch EVERY time?).
—Or you can make fish-free sushi wraps with rice and veggies with soy sauce to dip-ins (if your kids like sushi-type things. Or you can even use cut-up cooked chicken and beef in the seaweed rice wraps.) You can also provide a rice pilaf/salad with lettuce leaves or other greens for wrapping.
—And I love cold mini quiches, you can make them the night before, and it is usually easy to find mini tart shells at the stores if your kids don’t mind cold quiche.
I must say I’m a huge fan of peanut butter lunches—for the protein and simplicity of it. Here’s one idea I’ve been using since my daughter was in Kindergarten. Make a protein packed, healthy lunch and bless the teachers and your child by not adding any candy to their lunch. Then [here comes the fun part] add a special note each day, or as often as you can, to their lunch box. We’ve come up with some very fun notes over the years - "smile - it’s picture day, with a picture of a camera", "it’s raining outside but you make my day a rainbow, with rainbow sticky notes", etc… As they’ve grown older, I still place notes in their lunches, but with Scripture references pointing them to their Savior and notes to encourage them to seek Him during their lunch break and for the rest of their afternoon.
I SWEAR by my Pampered Chef "cut n seal". This is the tool that makes your sandwiches "crustless", and makes it like those "uncrustables" that you pay an arm and a leg for in the store!
—peanut butter and honey; peanut butter and bananas; peanut butter and apple butter; peanut butter in celery sticks
—wraps—instead of bread, put their favorite fixins inside a
flour tortilla, wrap up, and go!
—cookie cutter finger sandwiches. Make the sandwich first, tear off crust, and use different cookie cutters to make cute shapes. They like their initials in food, too.
—drink boxes: variety Yoo-Hoos once in while!
—One family I know did this for a week of camp, but it would work for school days as well. Call it Sunday Evening Spread. Put all the big bags of chips, and cookies on the kitchen table and fill little ziploc bags with them. Then put those bags into a big box in the pantry. Pack enough for the week, and all Mom has to do besides making or packing the sandwich or microwaveable leftovers is "grab and pack" the treats.
I love to put dried cranberries on almost all my PB&J’s; they’re best with apricot, raspberry and cherry jam! My mom likes to put marshmallow fluff on hers, as does my brother when he’s allowed to:) I personally think raspberry jam is best with this.
My mom used to use cookie cutters to cut out fun shapes in our sandwich bread. She would buy lots of interesting shapes and animals and surprise us with which one would be used to magically transform our food each day of the week. She also used to include a small note of love or encouragement attached to a piece of candy. Both were great ideas and made me look forward to opening my lunch (even if it was the same type of lunch meat and candy everyday, there was still an element of surprise!)
Putting M&M’s or potato chips in a sandwich make for a nice surprise. (You would probably only want to do this once in a while) It also adds a little variety to have leftovers from last night’s supper for your lunch. It also prevents disliked leftover nights or refrigerator meals.
My mom used to hide notes in different parts of my lunch like in the inside of my thermos lid. She even went so far as hiding one in the MIDDLE of my Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich. Thankfully, I noticed it after the first bite or two.
This is the best sandwich ever, I haven’t met a kid, dad, mom, sister or brother that didn’t like it. It is from my friend Debi. Two pieces white bread, strawberry jam on one side of bread with fresh sliced strawberries on top of that peanut butter on the one side of bread with roasted peanuts on the top. Put together. I have made these for bridal, baby showers even sold out of them at a street fair once. Cut them into fours for a fancier look.
2006 at 4:39 pm | by Janelle Bradshaw
It’ll be here before you know it, so how can you make your child’s first day of school extra special? Here are some super ideas…
I was homeschooled, so there really was no need for a backpack, school supplies in tow, etc. But being the industrious and excited 5 year old, I wanted all of that. So my mom got me a special backpack, supplies and lunchbox and we packed it all up the night before I started school. And then in the morning after breakfast, I took my backpack, kissed my mom goodbye and walked out the back door. About two minutes later, the front doorbell rang and there I was, saying hello to my “teacher” and siblings and ready for my first day! Silly, but fun and treasured.
I am a first grade teacher at a public school. As I was reading your post today, I thought about what would make my students happy. I find that for the little ones and big ones too, a little note of encouragement would do wonders. I am often faced with children who are missing their moms and siblings. Just reminding them that you will see them again and that they WILL go home would do wonders for them and the teachers!
I am the second oldest of six children, all of whom have been homeschooled since "the beginning." Ever since I can remember, my parents made the first day of school special by taking all of us out to breakfast. During breakfast, they would present each of us with a small, school-related gift such as a watch or pencil set. We also did our devotions at breakfast and prayed about and discussed the plan for the school year. When we couldn’t afford to go out to breakfast, my mom would get up extra early and make a special breakfast. This is a great memory that I will always treasure!
A very fun tradition that we always looked forward to as kids was…On the first day of school, mom would make a "schoolhouse cake" which was very similar to a gingerbread house you might make at Christmas time only looked like a one room schoolhouse with bell up top and all. Eventually it evolved to being just a regular 2 dimensional cake cut out in the shape of a one-room school building. She’d use icing and graham crackers and other things to make it creative. We always looked forward to coming home and having this for dessert after dinner on that first day of school!
Each year we take a "1st day of school photo" of the girls with their dad in the exact same place—on our front steps next to a potted flower arrangement. We save the photo on our bulletin board for the school year to watch and see how much they grow and change over the year. On the last day of school, I attach their photo with an award or end-of-the-year encouragement note. We love to look back on the photos and see how much they have changed—but dad hasn’t changed much at all!)
The very first day, of our very first year of homeschool I had a "great " idea. We would do a scavenger hunt! I made little rhyming signs with the clues on them to put at various locations. Around the house were hidden little treasures to fill their school boxes. Pencils, crayons, markers, stickers, play-doh. etc. Even a sweet or two. I had scheduled for this special morning event to take about 20 minutes; then we would start our day. Well, it took a little longer than 20 minutes, maybe 40. We finally sat down at the table to put all of these great things in the big prize, the school box!
I am not a mom yet, but here is what I remember my mom doing: The first day of school would start with what we affectionately called "the unveiling." Every year, my mom would purchase our school supplies for us (books for the year, pencils, pens, folders, fun treats, etc). She would then put it all on the dinning room table in nice little stacks and cover it with a huge bed sheet. We would wait until everyone was dressed and ready for the day. Then we gathered around the table to remove the "veil" and discover what cool stuff we had for that year. We got a huge kick out of it.
My suggestion is that parents remember to do fun things with kids even during the school year—it wouldn’t be the worst thing for a dad to take a vacation day and for the kids to miss school for one day—so that everyone could drive to the beach. You might be in jeans and a sweatshirt instead of bathing suits, but it will be fun all the same! That way the kid’s don’t associate Summer with Fun and School year with No-Fun. One missed day of school is not going to dramatically impact your child in a negative way, but one unexpected trip with the family will be a cherished memory for years to come. And I bet dad wouldn’t mind the time off work too!
Super fun thing to do—get everyone up early & go to breakfast at Dennys, or your local coffee shop. You’re there with all the people getting ready to go to work/start their day. So why not start off the new school year with a new tradition!