A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Back-to-School Checklists

Posted on: August 14, 2014

I’ve noticed stores are helpfully providing checklists for back-to-school shopping, both for clothes and supplies. I usually make a checklist of the supplies needed and see what’s still useable from the previous school year.

I think we’re set for school supplies, but as my son heads into Grade 9, it’s not a stretch to say we might be starting from scratch with his wardrobe—he’s suddenly outgrowing his shirts, and I doubt last year’s jeans will fit.

In any case, helpful though these checklists may be, they lack an important item, particularly for high school students: supportive friends.

Discovering, developing and learning to apply our skills and talents is part and parcel of the high school experience. But so is the influence of peers. And some young people find themselves cutting classes, experimenting with substances and sex, and putting off pursuing their dreams in an effort to fit in socially.

This is the point where we hope our youth have surrounded themselves with others who aren’t interested in rebelling; who will call their friends on it if they act out; and who might even talk to a teacher, a counsellor, or their own or their friend’s parents if they have concerns about a friend’s choices.

Only it’s not enough to hope. We need to take action:

  • Get to know the people our youth spend time with by encouraging them to invite friends over and by volunteering to help with or chaperone school activities and extracurriculars.
  • Insist that we know where and with whom our youth spend their time.
  • Keep communication open with the school so that we find out quickly if our youth face learning challenges, falling grades, bullying, or changes in behaviour.

I pray that our youth, especially those just beginning high school or changing schools this fall, would choose their friends wisely—and choose to walk away from a group heading down a path they don’t want to follow.

Next week, my husband is taking some time off for a staycation, and so I’m also taking a little time away from this blog. I’ll be posting again on August 25th.

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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