As school buses roll…10 things you want your child to learn by heart


The last rose of summer has bloomed.


Harvest fullness fills the farm stand.


Shadows grow long and lean, and leaves curling on the limb fall softly.


Lines form with last minute shoppers jostling to be first, picking up school supplies.


And moms hurry kids to the ice cream stand for one last frozen treat before school buses roll.


It is the season of routines returning to rule the roost.

And alarms ringing in the early morning and backpacks lined up each night by the front door.

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And in the late afternoons moms will stop to chat until lumbering yellow pods deposit precious cargo into their waiting arms.


When my boys were little, with homework done and checked, I worried long into the night.

How would I train them to be men of integrity lacking the support of a mate and male role model at home?


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But Jesus.

Always Jesus.

My Maker Husband who is Father to the fatherless and Father to us all.

So I asked Him to help me raise them.

And along with reading, writing and arithmetic, many valuable lessons were impressed upon my heart that I wanted to teach my sons before they entered life’s big classroom.

Whether you are in or out of a marriage raising children, here are ten life skills that can help your youngsters as they travel the road to young adulthood.


FAITH — Without faith it is impossible to please God. Without faith, your children will be overcome with fears and subject to believe satan’s cunning lies that swirl all about in the world at large. So model well your belief to your babies.

These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1:7

And tell them that through a faith-filled relationship with God, they will grow into the men and women He has created them to be. And that He desires to have this sweet and personal relationship with them where they are free to share their hearts and minds, their joys and sorrows, their anger and their delights.


INTEGRITY — encompasses honesty and transparency and adhering to a code of moral excellence. It means being the same person doing the right thing consistently, especially when no one is looking.

And the place to learn integrity is in the gospels, by studying the life of Jesus Christ. The most moral Man-God to ever walk the earth. Read your children the stories of His life and ministry. How He obeyed and loved His parents, most especially His heavenly Father.

Be Jesus to your kids and pray without ceasing for them to surrender their hearts to Him early, for healing, guidance and life.


HUMILITY — be meek and modest and down to earth. Confess your own pride and arrogance and take your children to task when haughtiness puffs them up. No one of us is any better than the other, we all eat and sleep and are loved.

He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.
Psalm 25: 9

And Jesus leveled the playing field when He died for all of us. Him stooping low to wash the filthy feet of His beloved disciples and all of us dusty, errant sheeplings.

Show your sons and daughters what putting others first and treating people the way you want to be treated looks like. 


FORGIVENESS — is a vital key to freedom and life.

Personally and relationally, forgiveness can make or break you and your young ones. This was top among the lessons I taught my boys. Forgive those who have hurt you badly and love them anyway, giving respect and trusting God to make it all better.

And single moms and dads: NEVER bad mouth your ex-spouse.

Yes, it’s okay to simply, honestly state that their choices were bad, that their actions hurt. But so do ours, if we are honest. And as God forgives us we must forgive others.

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 6:14-15

If you perpetuate hatred towards your former husband or wife you will cripple your children spiritually and emotionally, passing on to them a root of bitterness that will defile many for years to come. And much good will be lost along the way.

So let go of the resentment and pain and forgive, teaching forgiveness as you do.

And when you have done something wrong — yelled too loudly, disciplined too severely, raged on the road while driving your kids to soccer practice — confess your sins to God and your children. Humble yourself and seek His forgiveness and theirs.


PURPOSE — I told my sons that God created them and each of us as unique gifts of love to a hurting world. That we are here on this planet to contribute the nougat of art in our hearts which is the essence of our purpose.

And their contributions will count for eternity. Living on purpose and fulfilling one’s destiny will also fill us with joy and contentment.

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


WORK ETHIC — We train our kids to pass the tests, make the grade, get the degree and go out and find a job so they can support themselves on the gerbil wheel of life as we know it.

I told my sons to follow their hearts first.

Absolutely pursue educational goals, but not for the outcome of the almighty paycheck. Find work that your heart will love by seeking God for direction. Then pursue it whole heartedly.

And this, along with everything else we teach our babies, can only spring to life from our life that is hidden with Christ in God.


MONEY — we need money to live in the world, and money can be a great asset for helping others if it is viewed and used properly, from God’s perspective. And money can aid us in many ways from affording health care to having fun.

But the love of money {making it an idol}  is the root of all evil.

As we teach our young ones to seek God for wisdom, He will direct them with a proper balance of caring for their own needs while reaching out to others.

Monetary income is the perfect deceiver of a man’s true worth. Every job from the heart is, ultimately, of equal value. The nurse injects the syringe; the writer slides the pen; the farmer plows the dirt; the comedian draws the laughter. ” ~ Criss Jami


MARRIAGE — is the sweetest gift on earth after knowing Jesus.

It is a blessing unlike anything I have ever known, two becoming one to the glory of God.

Marriage is a lifetime best friendship with boundless benefits that are kept safe within His hands through the state of holy matrimony.

Marriage helps us put away selfishness while grasping hold of the greater good which is learning to live like Jesus, surrendered to the Father’s will.

And while it is good to get your heart right with God through Christ, and to seek emotional healing from any childhood wounds, I have found that the most remarkable healing takes place within the marriage as both partners seek Him first and each other second, with self trailing far behind.

God heals us relationally within the context of relating to our partner because we are made for relationships.

And within the mystery of the marriage bond — reflecting Christ’s love for His bride, His believers — there is a magical transformation that can only be described as other worldly, of the heavenly realms, with purity, love and holiness perfecting each partner, making them whole.

Teach your young ones to seek God first when seeking a mate for life.

To listen to Him and follow His precepts for conduct in a God honoring way during courtship which means hands off and clothes on. {And for older kids who perhaps didn’t follow God’s route, there is always forgiveness and cleansing and being made new to follow more closely.}

Instruct them that the way to go higher in marriage is to drop dead lower in selfishness and pride, ridding one’s heart of the need to be boss and always right.

Male and female, we are co-heirs to the kingdom where His hierarchy of order is love and respect. And husband and wife each give deference to the other as the husband leads and the wife follows, not as a burden but as a gift to God and each other meant to set each mate free to be their best selves.

But it only works well when based upon the Rock that is Jesus Christ and His holy word, the Bible.


LOVE — is hands down and above all the most important lesson to model and teach our children as we all travel along life’s sometimes rocky highway.

Love is a choice of will, coupled with  sweet and inspiring feelings.

But the art of love is work and work can be hard.

Especially after a long day on the job with nothing left to to give one’s spouse. Teach you babies it is best to trust God and to live so tightly woven in Him that His word is part of the fabric of their being, hidden away yet close enough at a moments notice to provide the loving answer to a trying situation.

And love is in the little things. It is found in going the extra distance to close the gap between two hearts.

Love is not for the weak and lazy for it will require everything you have.

And love, which is a very tender and fragile gift, can be lost.

It will die from neglect and abuse. And love lost is a very lonely place to be.

Tell your boys and girls who seek to grow up, find a special love and be married, that we love because God first loved us and only in Him can we truly lay down our lives to love another sacrificially. As Christ did.

Help them memorize and practice First Corinthians 13 over and over.

As parents, our words will be empty and meaningless unless we live the life we are trying to impart.

So we begin at the beginning by grounding ourselves deeply in Him, the author and sustainer of Life. Our Rabbi, precious Teacher, source of all wisdom and love.

Not until we realize deep in our hearts that we are loved just as we are can we truly love God or any other human being.


PRAY — without ceasing. Pray about everything, big and small. Let your children see God work as He answers your prayers — with either a yes or a no.

Let prayer become as integral as breathing.

And prayer is simply talking to God from our hearts, good, bad or indifferent. He knows it all anyway. We can’t hide a thing from Him. So no need for high sounding words that mask your true self.

Pray real. Pray from your heart. Pray believing He hears and answers. Pray!


There are all these things to teach our children as they grow, and so much more.



The responsibility and privilege of training up young ones can seem overwhelming.

So mom, or dad, vest yourself fully in Him, letting Him always lead the way. Him the most important person in your life.

And by your example much will be caught…


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2 thoughts on “As school buses roll…10 things you want your child to learn by heart

  1. Absolutely beautiful. The content as well as your style.
    I’m pinning so I can go back and reread.

    Than k you for the inspiration.

    • Thank you, Chris, for your kindness. It encourages my heart on a tired day 🙂 And my prayer is that these words, hard won, will go out there — God willing — and reach someone’s heart who really needs to hear it, perhaps changing their life and their children’s lives for the better, Thanks again for stopping by…and for pinning! I have yet to do Pinterest, but I think I really should. Any pointers? 🙂