Preparing Military Kids for a Successful School Year is a two-part series written by Stephanie Ward to help parents navigate the complexities of back-to-school- in military life.
Preparing Military Kids for a Successful School Year
By Stephanie Ward
It’s that time of year again. The sweet summer days of free time, playtime, vacations, and staying up late are behind us, and the long and busy days of the structured school year loom before us.
It cannot be avoided. Each time we enter Walmart, Target, or even the Post Exchange, we see giant signs that scream, “Get Ready for Back to School.” The aisles are filled with all the glue, crayons, and pencils a student will need for the year ahead.
The Complexity of Back-to-School
As moms, our relationship with Back-to-School time is complicated. There is much to do, think about, prepare, and feel. As moms of military students, the range of emotions seems even more amplified.
Our feelings might be directly related to where we are in our military journey. Are we stabilized, and can our kids be returning students this year? Or maybe you are doing back-to-school shopping in a brand new town, getting ready to launch your kid into a new school system yet again. Perhaps you are a homeschool parent, and you find yourself wandering the aisles of Walmart thinking, is this the right choice for my kid?
Sometimes it feels like a lot. Too much, really. And if you are anything like I am, you might wonder, does anyone else feel like this? Do all other moms have it together? Are more seasoned military wives and moms more relaxed than I am at this time of year?
Other Military Moms Worry Too
I wrestled with these questions as I prepared my heart to write this article. So I paused and prayed, Lord, show me how to help encourage and inspire other military moms on this difficult journey of launching and re-launching our military kids back to school, year after year. And amid that whispered prayer, the Lord revealed to me that I did not have the answers to these questions, but he had provided some incredible women in my life that could share their wisdom with me.
I shot a quick text to these inspiring women and asked a few questions concerning back-to-school time, and their answers blessed and encouraged me, and I pray they do the same for you. These ladies are all at different stages in their military careers; some of these moms have little kids with a few years of active duty service time, to a mom that raised all of her kids while she and her husband were on active duty.
I saw that the worries each of these awesome moms felt were similar.
Military Moms Said…
The first question I asked these ladies was: What is your biggest worry for your kids at the beginning of each school year?
Ashley- Back to school for my children often means saying “hello” to a new school. Whether we are returning to a familiar school or beginning a new one, my biggest worry is that my children will always have wonderful friends who share our values. The academics and sports fall into place, but the quality friendships made at school set the tone for our school year.
Alicia- Every school year, I worry about the same things; they just change and adapt based on each child and their season of life. Will my child have friends?
Will my child be bullied? Will my child give in to peer pressure? Will my child be a kind friend to those around them? Will my child have adults that are pointing them on the right path? What negative influences will my kids be exposed to or offered (drugs, alcohol, vaping, cigarettes, sex, misunderstood identity)? Will my child struggle academically? Am I doing the right thing by sending them to school? Should I homeschool?
Sandy- My greatest concern after a PCS is connecting my kids to a group of similar-aged friends to share sports, activities, and academics.
Jessica- Since we homeschool, I must create spaces for my daughter to make friends intentionally. And because I am an introvert and she is my complete opposite, sometimes I wonder if I am doing this well enough.
Do you relate to any of these concerns? I know I sure do. The common theme for these moms is praying that their military student connects to good friends, is safe emotionally and physically, and thrives.
Setting the Tone as a Military Mom
It feels like a lot to bear. It truly could undo us as wives and moms if we don’t remember that God loves our military kids more than we do. Even though there is so much outside of our control for our kids, we can be rooted in knowing that God is holding our children in the palm of his hand.
Psalms 52: 8-9 says,
But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. I will thank you forever because you have done it. I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly.
Military moms should think of themselves as olive trees. We are rooted in the truth; we can trust in the love of God for us. But we can also count on his love for our kids. We can be a symbol of strength and peace in our homes. When our kids are full of nervous energy, we can show them they can have peace in their hearts. Moms set the tone in our homes. So let us set the tone of strength, peace, and trust in God’s goodness.
Launching Military Students Well
How powerful is that phrase in Psalms that says, “I will thank you forever because you have done it.” I appreciate that in our relationship with Christ; we can trust Him because He has proven to be good repeatedly. He has done it, and he will do it again. We can put our trust in Him school year after school year because God’s got this.
God goes before us despite our fears and worries, even as we launch our kids. It is leaning on His strength that will keep our kids strong.
As I prepare to launch my sons this year, I keep praying. This treasured hymn over our family and military students is my prayer. Lord, “because you live, I can face tomorrow; because you live, all fear is gone because I know, you hold the future, and life is worth the living, just because you live.” Amen.
We can trust that God is holding the future, but especially, he is holding our kids.
Notes and Resources
- Click here to see our Month of the Military Child Resource.
- Click here to see our Women’s History Month Resource List.
- Click here to see our Heart Healthy Relationship Resource List.
- Click here to see our Women’s Empowerment Resource List.
- Check out this post if you want a reminder of what our Faith Full Friday series is all about.