More Important Than the SAT

Getting into college is important. I know – I am a high school English teacher and a parent of three. My oldest, a junior, is starting to look at colleges – which means my husband and I are looking at college tuition. Yikes!! We are encouraging Emma to do her best in school, in her extracurricular activities, and on her SATs so she can qualify for as many scholarships as possible.

But as I think through that – the importance of getting a college degree and being prepared for life as an adult – I am realizing far too many of us parents and educators are missing out on preparing our kids for what is most important. We stress grades and college and scholarships – the “head” – but we are neglecting the heart.

As parents, my husband and my primary goal is not to see our children get into college, make a lot of money, and be successful.

Our goal is to see our children passionately follow Christ – no matter what. We want them to love Jesus, to love others, to obey God’s calling on their lives. We want them to seek Him in every aspect of their lives – schooling, career, dating, and marriage. Everything.

With that goal in mind, we have made intentional choices along the way. Not perfect. Not even close. But with the goal – always – to help point our kids to Christ and His purposes for their lives.

Church Camp > Sports Camp

One way we try to help our kids grow is that we make church a priority. We don’t allow the kids to be on sports teams that consistently practice on Sundays and Wednesdays. As a result, they’ve “missed out” on some great teams, some opportunities to go to the next level in a sport. But what they have gotten is mentoring by godly men and women who have loved them and encouraged them to know Jesus better. They have developed deep friendships with young people who are seeking after Christ. For us, that is far more valuable than being on “that” team and advancing in “that” sport.

Another way we try to help our kids grow is that we say “no” to casual dating. Dating should be a preparation for marriage, not practice for divorce. We want our kids to have successful marriages: marriages that point people to Christ. We want passion and romance and deep, abiding love for our kids. We want them to be committed “till death do us part” to the person God has chosen for them. We want our kids to have strong relationships with Jesus first, to know He meets their needs and the longings of their hearts. Because of that, we don’t allow them to “just date”.

SATs are important. College is important. Being productive in society is important. But knowing Christ and serving Him with our whole hearts – that is the MOST important. So, parents, let’s push our kids to excel in what matters most. Teens – keep your eyes on the TRUE prize – “of the upward call in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:14)

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