For more than two decades, students of all ages have been gathering at the flag pole in front of schools across the nation and around the world to pray, read scripture and sing hymns in the annual student-led See You at the Pole (SYATP) event.
Here in the U.S., SYATP occurs every fourth Wednesday in September. This year it falls on Sept. 25. As parents, it’s important to support and encourage your kids to participate in this wonderful time of worship, fellowship and display of Christian faith. Here are some things to discuss with your children to help them prepare for the special day.
Start with a Spiritual Foundation
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath : but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. —Ephesians 6:4, KJV
God charges us with a parental responsibility to raise our children according to His Word. Children are born innocent, with a blank slate. They are exposed to all kinds of influences, good and bad, as they grow. A spiritual foundation is not something they inherit at birth; it’s built as they mature, with proper nurturing, teaching and encouragement.
Daily prayer and Bible study with your children is a wonderful way to provide spiritual instruction and help them establish and build a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Involving them in church activities like Sunday school, worship service and youth group strengthens their Christian foundation and also helps them build Christian friendships.
Let Their Light Shine
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. —Matthew 5:16, KJV
As See You at the Pole approaches, you may want to contact your school principal to see if anyone is coordinating the event, or has designated the meeting place (it may be a different place than the flagpole, or there may be more than one flagpole at the school).
Share what you learn with your children and explain how important it is for them to take the Christian opportunity to let their light shine by taking part in this special time of prayer and worship. Discuss Matthew 5:16 and explain how praying and worshiping at SYATP may lead other timid students or non-believers to do the same, and maybe even lead a non-believer to Christ.
Also discuss how precious our right to pray and enjoy religious freedom is, and what a blessing and privilege it is to exercise this right, along with millions of Christians around the world, on this special day.
Prayer, Songs and Scripture
Pray without ceasing. —I Thessalonians 5:17, KJV
Once you, as a parent, or your child finds out if anyone is leading SYATP or there is a structured format or planned program, help your child plan how he will participate. Discuss the power of prayer and God’s admonition for us to pray without ceasing.
Will he say a prayer? If so, will he pray silently or out loud? Will they pray for anything, anyone or any specific group (e.g., the school system, their teachers, fellow students, the President of the United States, Our Troops, world peace)? Will he read a verse or passage of scripture?
Discuss your child’s favorite scriptures or suggest some important ones like God’s Salvation promise:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. —John 3:16, KJV
Or, Christ’s Law of Love:
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. —Mark 12:30-31, KJV
If your child likes to sing, help her pick out her favorite hymn or worship song for the gathering.
Above all, remind your kids that it’s okay to pray and talk to God any time. Support the choices they make for SYATP and praise them for taking a stand for Christianity and their personal faith. When they get home from school, be sure to make time to discuss how things went.