We can all agree that kids need direction.  This year as mine were heading out to school, I felt like they needed to have a vision of themselves succeeding, so I started thinking about how I could instill in them the keys necessary to be successful and to have a good year.

Every family is different, and maybe these don’t apply to you, but I came up with the 5 things that I feel are going to be really important for my family this year, and thought I’d share.


#1 – SLEEP:  This is number one because in my mind it is everything!  (…and because we really let loose this summer with our sleep habits) Life can get really hard if you deprive yourself, or your children, of sleep.  Things don’t go well, you feel crappy, you feel disconnected from life, and you don’t have ambition. Likewise if you are sleeping at the wrong time, ie. late to bed, late to rise.  But once you allow yourself a good couple of nights sleep, and maybe even an afternoon power nap to get caught up, it’s amazing how good a body feels!  The mind is sharper, you can focus, and you FEEL like doing things.  Big hurdles are somehow not so intimidating, not that the hurdle has changed in any way, but your ability to tackle it has improved immensely!

Sleep is everything.

#2 – SCRIPTURES:  There is a God in heaven who wants us and our children to be successful and happy.  We are sending our children off to school in perilous times with wickedness around every corner.  Reading the scriptures is the key to spiritual protection.  They contain the doctrine that will bring each of us to a testimony of Jesus Christ.  That is the foundation of all of our learning, in my opinion!  When we are committed to reading and studying the scriptures, we allow for personal revelation from God regarding our own lives.  HUGE!  And important.  We won’t miss a day reading together as a family.

#3 – SELFLESS NOT SELFISH:  I told my kids that every person walking through the halls of the school is more concerned about themselves than anybody else.  Which is true of all of us.  When you turn outward and focus on others, make them feel important, decide to help someone, and give compliments, you are giving others the love and validation that everyone needs.  Kindness is how a Christlike person treats others.  Selfishness is more concerned with “I,” “me,” and “mine,” instead of “we,” ours,” or “yours.” A selfless person is a good listener and doesn’t monopolize the conversation, only talking about himself.  I love what my husband has always said, “You have two ears and one mouth – so you can listen more than you speak.”   A selfless person shows concern for others. A selfless person will sacrifice for others.  People are drawn to selfless people.  Selfless people have more friends!

#4 – SET LIMITS:  There are so many distractions taking kids (and adults!) away from the important things.  TV, video games, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, friends, devices, phones, hobbies, homework, and even schedules packed full of good things!  Life is full of distractions.  Recently, we agreed as a family on the time we spend on devices, and when the kids are involved in making those rules, they are much easier for them to follow.  It makes all the difference!  Organizing our time doesn’t bind us, it frees us!  If we don’t simplify, and set time limits, we find ourselves up late finishing homework, we have cranky kids from staring at a screen too long, or we ourselves are frazzled running the kids to the drive through because we didn’t allow time for meal planning.  Setting limits allows us to take control of the day instead of the day controlling us.  We will not be distracted!  Our lives are not the boss of us!  WE are the boss!

#5 – Originally, there were only four S’s, but this morning my little one told me of another one that he felt should be on the list and that is to SMILE.  I couldn’t agree more with that one!  If you are smiling, you are positive!  Face everyday with a smile!  There are so many reasons to be happy.

The 12 year old smirked at that one and called it cheesy.  But I’ll tell ya, she had a big smile on her face as she was getting on the bus and I yelled out the window “Embrace the cheese honey!”

Elder James E. Faust:

“Your success as a family, or success as a society, depends not on what happens in the White House, but on what happens inside your house.”

Here’s to a successful school year for all of us!

Need a good back to school Family Home Evening lesson?  Click HERE.