We recently moved and the kids started their new school this week. Of course our nerves are in high gear. Everything is new! They are riding the bus which is new. They are going to a new school and have to make new friends. New is the name of the game. And one of my daughters is in middle school. That is hard enough without adding in a completely new place with new people. It will be an anxious time for me too because I really do get bothered when I see my kids nervous and uncomfortable. We all have to deal with that as parents ( I know!!) and we can’t always rush in like Mama Bear and fix it. Sometimes all we can do is hang back and be supportive while they navigate the rough waters. What doesn’t kill them makes them stronger, right? So I will hang out in the background and be supportive.
The key, though, is hanging out in the background without holding a Kit Kat in one hand and Twix in the other to calm me!
I wanted to do something for my kids to encourage them as they go back to school. All over Pinterest, I keep seeing the idea of “Back to School Survival Kits” .I thought this was a great idea but I just want to say—almost ALL of them have food involved.
Here is an example of one of the back to school kits:
- 100 Grand candy bar in it with the saying “Remember Your Great Worth”
- Gum with the saying “Stick to your Principles”
- Hershey Kisses for the obvious Kiss from Mom
- Laffy Taffy with the saying of “remember to laugh”
- Smartie candy to remember to study hard
- Now and Later candy to remind you that the decisions you make matter “now” and “later”
These are all super cute ideas. They really are!! But I also want to point out how much our society connects food with love! I cannot even begin to tell you how often food is the basis for many things we do. This is why there should be no question in our minds why letting go of food can be more difficult than letting go of other things. Food is integrated into every facet of our lives. As a society, we always associate food with comfort. So is it a surprise that people would immediately include food in a “survival kit”? After all–for the majority of my life I have used food to “survive” uncomfortable and anxiety producing situations. So I am not shocked that it makes up the entire kit!!
But I am constantly trying to move away from that way of living. That way of thinking. I don’t want my kids to grow up believing that food is necessary to survive uncomfortable situations. I know this may not seem like a big deal but it really is for me. I learned to use food at an early age to comfort myself and that food literally became my survival kit. Not just “back to school” survival. But “LIFE” survival.
How to survive divorce.
How to survive anxiety.
How to survive a job.
How to survive stress.
How to survive parenting.
How to survive LIFE.
And I carried it with me every where I went.
In my purse. By my bedside table. In my car.
I had food squirreled away in all kinds of places. Hidden so that only I knew where it was because I couldn’t risk running out of it.
In the laundry room. In the garage. In my bedroom drawers. Even under the bed.
If I didn’t have food with me, I would turn around and go home even if it meant being late to somewhere important. I had to have food with me at all times to survive. I always carried a one pound bag of M and Ms in my purse so I could reach for one whenever I felt anxiety creeping up. And that way of coping can be very dangerous. So even though it is a cute idea to have a “Back to School Survival Kit” with food, I don’t want to ever risk transmitting that way of thinking to my children because while the majority of the world may be able to handle it—many people can’t. And it ends up almost killing them.
Obesity is a mindset. It’s a way of dealing with life. And we live in a society that says food is love. Food is comfort. And THAT is dangerous.
So I decided to put together a FOOD-FREE Back to School Survival Kit. I thought I would share it with everyone in case they wanted to do something similar. Of course some of the items were for my daughters and not my son (waterproof mascara) but here is a basic idea of what I put together. In addition to that, I bought them cards and wrote each of them a letter.
For me personally, I included some scriptures that go with each theme. Of course if this isn’t your thing you could leave those out! Or add a positive quote 🙂
Today is the start of a new school year and not only that—a new school. I know you might be nervous and apprehensive about today. I have put together a “survival kit” to help you and remind you that no matter what happens today or in the coming weeks—you have all of what you need to not only survive but THRIVE. I have no doubt in my mind that today is the start of a wonderful adventure. You are more than able to conquer any obstacles that come your way!
In your bag, you will find some things to remind you of important skills and attitudes to carry with you through the year
A Slinky—Be flexible!! Not everything will always go your way. So go with the flow and roll with the punches. A slinky can stretch pretty far. So don’t forget that you need to stretch out of your comfort zones. Try new things. Meet new people. And embrace it!
I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances—Philippians 4:11
Paper Clips—They hold things together and you have what it takes to hold it together too!! You may have to juggle a lot of new things but I know what you are capable of. You have what it takes to find the bus, locate new classrooms and make your way around a new environment. You will have no problem holding it all together. I believe in you!
He came before anything and He holds all things together–Colossians 1:17
Sponge—I want you to soak it all in. Remember that school is a place to learn so soak in all the knowledge you can. It is also a time to create new friendships and try new things. So just keep soaking it in and enjoy it
Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress— 1 Timothy 4:15
Pencils-–You are SHARP. You are smart. You are capable of learning new things. You can do this
I give you wisdom—1 Corinthians 1:30
Pencil Sharpener—In order to STAY sharp, you must surround yourself with the right people and the right attitude. Make sure that the people you spend the most time with are those that keep you sharp, encouraged, on track, motivated and always striving for your best.
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend—Proverbs 27:17
Encourage one another—1 Thessalonians 5:11
Eraser—Everyone makes mistakes. Never be afraid to forget the past and start over!
Forget the past. I am doing a new thing! —Isaiah 43:18
No one is perfect. No one!! —-Romans 3:10
Pen—You are writing a new story. It is the story of your life. It can be whatever YOU want it to be!!
All things are possible—Luke 18:27
Highlighter-–Let your light shine through!! And let others see the light in you!
Don’t hide your light! Let your light shine—Matthew 5:16
Deodorant—Never let them see you sweat! Even when you feel anxious and uncomfortable—fake it till you make it. Just hold your head high and “act as if” you are totally confident! Before long, that confidence will be real as you overcome your fears
I have not given you a spirit of fear—2 Timothy 1:7
If God is for you, who can be against you? –Romans 8:31
Tell whatever mountain is in your way to move. Then don’t doubt! Believe that it will happen and God will help make it happen!–Mark 11:23
Tissues and Waterproof Mascara —Sometimes we try hard to hold it together with our waterproof mascara but it doesn’t always work. It’s ok to cry. Sometimes our feelings get the best of us. Give yourself a moment and then wipe the tears away and keep moving forward!!
You care about all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in a bottle—Psalm 56:8
Wait for the Lord. He will renew your strength!—Isaiah 40:31
Band-Aids—Sometimes things will get rough and your feelings might get hurt. Take care of that right away! Don’t walk around with an open wound!
He heals the broken hearted and bandages up their wounds—Psalm 147:3
Smiley Face Stickers—Put a smile on your face. A positive attitude is contagious.
A cheerful heart is good medicine—Proverbs 17:22
Lint Roller—Some people may try to put things on you that you will NOT like. Things like negative thinking, insecurity and wrong mindsets. Just roll it off of you as quickly as you can. Don’t let it linger!
Guard your heart—Proverbs 4:23
Get rid of every negative thought—2 Corinthians 10:5
Your Invisible Crown—Wear your invisible crown everywhere you go to remind yourself that you are a treasure. You are important, talented and worth more than you could ever know. Do not let anyone or anything ever knock your crown off! Other people also have invisible crowns because they are special too. Some may have had their crowns knocked off by those who made them feel bad. Help them remember to put it back on!
You are sons and daughters of a King—the most High God!—-2 Corinthians 6:18
You will be like a beautiful crown in God’s hands. You will never be rejected—Isaiah 62:3
Post It Notes-— Fill your mind with quotes, scripture or whatever positive thing you need to keep yourself encouraged and motivated! Whatever you think in your mind will affect how you feel. And how you feel will affect how you act. So always put positive things in your mind and heart! Constantly remind yourself of these things.
Always keep your thoughts positive—Philippians 4:8
Balloons—Because sometimes YOU have to be the one to pump yourself up. Don’t wait for someone to do it for you. Do it for yourself. Be your own cheerleader. You have what it takes inside of you. Learn to encourage yourself and you will overcome whatever comes your way.
Build yourself up—Jude 1:20
Also remember, never to be full of “hot air”. Have confidence in yourself but also be humble and willing to listen to what others have to say.
Be humble and patient in dealing with others—Ephesians 4:2
Chapstick/Lip Balm—Be careful with your lips. What you say matters!! What you say to others and what you say to yourself. Do not gossip or engage in the drama of the day. Instead speak positive words into your life and the lives of others. There is power in your words
Set a guard over your lips and take control over what you say—Psalm 141:3
What you say matters. —Proverbs 18:21
Flashlight—Walk in the light. When trouble comes your way, shine light on it until you see which way to go. When you shine light into darkness, you will make your path clear. Don’t stumble around in the dark. Always ask for help when you need it. The more light you shine onto a problem the more clear it will become.
The light shines in the darkness and the darkness will never overcome it—John 1:5
You are a lamp to my feet and a light for my path—Psalms 119:105
Hand Sanitizer—-Be Proactive. Take precautions. You can’t always avoid when bad things happen but you can often prevent them if you do some things in advance. Just like a hand sanitizer may prevent germs from getting you sick so will many other actions you take in life help you to avoid pitfalls. Plan ahead. Do your assignments before the deadline. Ask for help before test day! Use a calendar or an agenda to plan out your schedule in advance. Always do whatever you can to give yourself the advantage!!
The wise person sees what is coming ahead and plans for it—Proverbs 27:12
Even the ants are smart enough to plan ahead. They work all summer storing up food for the winter—Proverbs 6:6-8
Bath Sponge—Don’t forget to take time for yourself. You need to remember that everyone needs a break. A chance to rest and relax!
Go off by yourself to a quiet place and get some rest!—-Mark 6:31
Umbrella— The rain falls on everyone. It doesn’t only fall on some. So be ready. When the rain falls just open your umbrella and keep going. Rain or shine—do your best and keep moving forward. No matter how much it rains, remember that it never lasts forever and the sun will shine again!
Trust in God. Keep your hope in Him. Even when the storms come, they will never be able to knock you down!!—Matthew 7:24-25
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown–Isaiah 43:2
Silly String—-Last but not least—don’t forget to have fun. This is your life. Enjoy it!
This is the day God made so enjoy it!!!—-Psalm 118:24
Good luck on this great adventure!
In addition to the above things, I also added some bracelets with scriptures ( or you could have positive and encouraging quotes)
Since you can wear these on your wrist, they are great for being always accessible and easy to see through the day. No matter what is going on, that is something they can look at to remind them to be encouraged!
I also found these little colorful stones that have scriptures
And I have a lot of these little cards. I put a few in their Back to School Survival Kit but I also like to tuck them in books or their backpack through the year for them to randomly find.
Here are a few pictures of the cards I got the kids as well.
So this was my effort at a non food related Back to School Survival Kit.
I would love to hear your ideas as well!!
Good luck to all of you with kids starting back at school this year! And of course good luck to my teacher friends as well!