| from Suzanne Phillips |

“And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.”

Luke 2:52

As we wrap up our back-to-school series let’s spend a few minutes considering not only that our children are preparing for a year a growth but how we might be praying for them to grow. Often, we discuss growth and achievement in a school or academic setting simply in the context of intellect. While intellectual growth and maturity is a focus of the academic year it is one part of a much larger picture.

Back- to -school is the launch of a new season of educational endeavor. Education certainly includes academics but is in no way reduced solely to subject matter achievement.  A child is a whole person and because of this the desire for education is for well-rounded, holistic growth. If a child was simply a brain walking around on legs teaching would be rather easy. We would simply pack that brain with knowledge and move on. However, we all know that’s not how it works. So, how do we engage the whole child and pursue holistic growth? Let’s consider all their parts! 

Growing Whole

Consider how your child is growing:

  • Spiritually
    • Do they demonstrate humility?
    • Do you see transformation in areas of their life?
    • Do they show an interest in knowing Jesus and a desire to obey God?
  • Intellectually
    • Do they truly study rather than giving the bare minimum?
    • Do they demonstrate interest in a particular subject?
    • Do they pursue excellence in their work?
  • Relationally
    • Do they recognize the needs of those around them?
    • Do they set and respect boundaries?
    • Do they practice gratitude and forgiveness?
  • Emotionally
    • Are they able to express their emotions?
    • Do they practice self – control?
    • Do they seem confident in their own skin?
  • Socially
    • Do they try new things?
    • Do they meet new people?
    • Do they go new places?
  • Physically
    • Do they exercise their body?
    • Do they have a healthy self – image?
    • Do they practice balance?

My husband and I are co-founders of a couple of schools in the Atlanta area. Over the years we have seen parents focus on one particular area of maturity or strength and move a child forward a grade. During the interview process we would encourage the parents to consider the whole child before shifting the student forward or back. It is very possible for a child to be  strong intellectually yet struggle a bit with forming friendships. This may mean a little time is needed to develop relationally. Perhaps the child is very shy socially but quite capable physically. In The 8 Great Smarts by Dr. Kathy, we learn that there are 8 types of intelligences. We are all created with intelligence, but intellect looks quite different from person to person.  Helping your child understand that they will balance strengths and opportunities for growth their whole life will build a healthy balance of confidence and humility.

As your students enter into high school it is important to help them begin to discover their strengths and opportunities for growth, personal preferences, areas of interests and areas of influence they have. Envision Life Academy is a comprehensive career and college planning service created to help a student fine their “right fit” future. Should that future include college the student will discover their “right fit” college. The “right fit” takes into account factors such as preferred study habits, geographical location, size of community and campus, majors, programs, social opportunities, and financial requirements. Envision Life Academy is a wonderful tool to help a student and their parent take a holistic and thorough with foresight and function.

How are you helping your child grow as a whole person? Where does your child thrive? How do you encourage further growth? Which area presents the greatest challenge? How do you ensure those challenges are available for your child? If you are interested in learning more check out the following resources:

  • Start with the Heart, Dr. Kathy Koch
  • The 8 Great Smarts, Dr. Kathy Koch
  • Envision Life Academy (2 high school students for the price of 1)


Suzanne Phillips

Beacon Life