Yolanda says she is apprehensive about starting the school year because she is afraid of “feeling lonely and getting picked on.”
Kaya is worried about the “drama” that ensues in her peer groups.
Kelsey is just afraid of people, in general.
Rachel is anxious about school because of fear “That I’ll be overwhelmed and fall behind. I’ll fail myself and my family.”
These are just a few of many students with fears about school. Whether it is fears, discipline issues or academic difficulties, parents and teachers need a support system and students need biblical guidance and discipline.
Most importantly, everyone needs to be impacted by the Gospel. How should this happen?
Tony Fajardo, Head of School at Northside Christian Academy in Charlotte, N.C., says that while Christian education has been a passion of his for a very long time, he was spiritually impacted by a public school teacher. “When I was young, I had a teacher who changed my life forever. Knowing I didn’t understand what Christ was all about, he took time with me and took me under his wing and mentored me,” remembers Fajardo. “He not only told me about Christ – he showed me. There were feet to his faith.”
Once Fajardo became a Christian, he saw that he could make a difference in the world – one student at a time.
The Importance of Discipline and Communication
Even strong Christian students need guidance and discipline. Some choose to go in the wrong direction at times, whether the rebellion is self-directed, or under the influence of fellow athletes or other students. “There were times when I incorrectly handled situations with teachers or other students, and my mentor spent time with me, teaching me the importance of discipline,” said Fajardo. “The discipline of a student should be done with the goal that he or she becomes more self-disciplined over time. These students need to understand that discipline will play a vital role in their lives.
While sound leadership is needed in our schools, the greatest need is in our homes.
Fajardo says that families often overlook the power of time and influence. “Students spend so much time immersed in their culture, their friends and their relationships outside of school. Sometimes parents are too busy trying to make sure they are putting food on the table, which is a necessary thing,” he explained. “But we as parents should understand that we need some help. We can’t do this alone. We need the support of Christian educators or counselors, or even other Christian parents.”
For the parents who have a limited Christian support system, Fajardo, who is a parent as well as a school administrator, shares some advice.
“It is important for parents to take the time to sit down with your children and talk to them. They are looking for relationships. The best way to develop a relationship with them is to spend time talking with them. Ask them about their day, so they feel like they can come to you about deeper things later.
“If these kids are coming home without feeling as though they talk with their parents, they will find someone else to share things with. And those who they share with will be the people who have the most impact on their lives. As parents, it’s crucial that we know what’s going on in the lives of our children.”