It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint -- and a Giveaway

To finish off our The Best School Year Ever series, we have a great giveaway. Don't miss your chance to win a 31 Gifts Organizing Utility Tote in Black Parisian Pop. If you need to organize your stuff this school year, this is a great way to get started. Enter the drawing below.

This week has been our first full week of school, and to tell you the truth, I'm ready to throw up my hands and go back to summer. It hasn't really started off as the best school year ever. I think I've had a child in tears every afternoon.

My younger daughter is discovering that she just can't breeze through school this year. She's actually being challenged by some of her work. My older daughter is struggling to make all the adjustments needed for middle school. And everyone is still trying to adjust to the new morning wake-up and bedtime schedules. The end result is that we're all tired and my patience is running short. Thank goodness it's Friday.

Everything we've talked about in the last three weeks will make this a better school year for our families. The trick is persevering when the going gets tough. It's easy to sit back before the school year starts, read all this great information and think, "This is the year I'm going to have it all together." Then the school year starts, reality sets in and it all goes out the window. We fall back into our old, familiar habits -- papers pile up on the counter, calendar boxes are full to bursting, family time and dinner time go out the window, taking time to be intentional with our kids becomes the last thing we want to do.

Remember that the school year is an endurance race, not a sprint. If things don't start off well, take a step back, reevaluate what's working and what's not and jump back in the race. Hebrews 12:1-2 says "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith." If you're starting out or getting ready for school this year, then the race marked out for you right now is to be the best parent you can be -- and that takes perseverance and endurance. And it means we keep our eyes firmly fixed on Jesus and what He wants for our families.

Keep these things in mind as you run the school year race, jump the hurdles of tired, cranky kids and head for the finish line.

Pray, pray, pray. We started with this, and we'll end with it. Cover everything in prayer. When your patience is stretched thin, pray. When your schedule is overwhelming, pray. When your kids are struggling, pray. When you have a quiet moment to yourself, pray. Prayer strengthens us and our kids. It's our most important weapon in the battle. If you do nothing else for your kids this school year, pray for them.

Cut yourself some slack. If you have all sorts of changes you want to make this school year and it doesn't go exactly as planned, don't beat yourself up. Kids are unpredictable. Things we think will make our lives easier often end up blowing up in our faces. If something doesn't work in your house, change it. If your kids aren't responding to one thing, try something else. Remember, the important thing is not to follow some pre-prescribed system that works for someone else. The important thing is to find a system that works for your family.

Laugh. Find reasons to laugh. This week hasn't been a whole lot of fun around here. Homework battles, bedtime battles and general grumpiness have left this mom ready for the idle days of summer. Yet, we've still found reasons to laugh. As a matter of fact, we make it a point to laugh. I often ask my kids to tell me the funniest thing that happened at school. We tell jokes. We laugh at ourselves. Laughter is good medicine. It puts things in perspective, and it gives us a break from whatever difficulty we're dealing with at the moment.

When we remember that the school year is an endurance race, not a sprint, we gain the perspective that we need to make this the best school year ever.

Don't miss our 31 Gifts drawing. Thanks to my 31 Gifts consultant friend, Amanda Thompson, we're giving away an Organizing Utility Tote in Black Parisian Pop. Don't miss your chance to enter.

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