Sigh. End of January. That means the summer holidays (for us in New Zealand) are done. Actually with the funny weather, it feels like summer has just begun now we are back into school! So a day away from the start of the new school year for our kids, and I reflect on how I survive starting school myself as a teacher, and supporting our 3 kids as they embark on a new year themselves!
So I find myself colouring in to help get rid of the flurries of the day at school. Colouring in calms me, centers me, allows me to think. And I have a lot to think about preparing for students to start school in a day or so.
Some of my favourite things – colouring in and birds. I especially love this hummingbird.
I have learned how to compartmentalise. School is school, home is home and I try to keep them fairly separate. Of course there are the times in the year where grading assignments do sneak into our house, but I do try to keep school things at school. Compartmentalising allows our brains to focus on the thing at hand and not think / worry / dwell on things that are not right at hand at the moment. To help me do this, I write lists. Lots of lists. I have a pen and paper beside my bed so I do not forget things to do. I have loved using ‘tasks’ which is associated with google drive. Having my documents in google drive (loving online planning for lessons and units), and linked to that is ‘tasks’ (my to-do list, which also can be populated by my emails), and then my calendar, I feel organised in my head! I feel like I can enjoy the moment at hand because my other tasks are all assigned to a day or class and so-on. I feel like it frees up my mind to give full attention to what moment I am in.
I survive by prioritising plenty of sleep. It doesn’t always work, as any parent would nod vigorously, I do enjoy the quietness of the evening when the kids are asleep. I feel like extending the evening just a little so I can enjoy the rare peace and tranquility! But then I end up going to bed later and feel less than human the following day. I seem to have a lul in energy when I get home, and then perk up after dinner. Maybe I need afternoon tea…I am still working on this! And if anyone has any advice, throw it at me!
At the moment I am looking after myself physically by feeding my body with good things. Wholegrains for extended energy, probiotic yoghurt for good gut health, and things like blueberries, pumpkin seeds, salads, tuna, LSA and so on for good brain nourishment (not all together…blueberries and tuna might be weird!). I am quite forgetful, and so I am trying to feed my brain the right things to nourish it. And drinking water. Every time I go to the staff room I have a drink of water. Every time I go past the water fountain, I have a quick drink, and I keep my water bottle on my desk. Working so far…tick!
Gratitude and spending time in the Word has helped me focus on the positive, and keep my perspective in the right place. And prayer…lots of prayer. I pray for everything, and thank God for everything! Also finding the things that feed my soul – things like photography, writing, my animals, cooking, rivers, and the obscure things like colouring in! Find the things that help centre you, things that help make you feel full, things that you enjoy, things that bring you joy.
I am also considering how to use the 30min commute time with the audio Bible, or devotionals. Hey the kids have to be in the car with me, so they may as well soak themselves in the Word at the same time! I’ll reserve the commute home to talk about the day. We love the drive home – we talk about everything. I am more ready to talk about everything during the drive home, rather than the drive into school at 7.30am!
Over the summer holidays our kids have had later bedtimes, and so leading up to school we have sent them off to bed a few minutes earlier each night. We are getting there, but day 1 of school is going to be a shock to the system. Actually they will be excited about day 1, it will be day 2 that will hit them hard! As they fit into the school routine again, I like to give them good breakfast’s – at the moment, smoothies are the favourites, and so I like to throw in chia and LSA (they didn’t grunt too much when I tried it on them)!
I think the key to starting the school year is to maintain good routines at home, good sleep and good food. The behaviour thing that we are biting off at the moment, is our children doing what we ask the first time. Things got pretty relaxed over the holidays, and so when we noticed that, we have tightened up a little. Just a little, so they know to show the respect due and do what is asked. My daughter is starting high school this year, and so I pray daily that God would give her wisdom in the decisions she makes, and as she figures out who she is. And I pray daily that God will give us wisdom in being the parents our children need!
So the little routines start again…lunch boxes on bench as soon as they walk in the door, jackets hung on the hooks, bags into rooms (not strewn all over the lounge), bananas emptied from bags (not left for a month), homework done, washing sorted, lunches made in the morning…may God grant us the grace, strength and wisdom to support our loved little ones as they grow into the best versions of themselves.
Philippians 4:12, 13, 19
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.Biblegateway.com