Faith & Learning Blog
Connecting Faith and Learning Blog
On September 22, eleven students met at school at 7am, hopped in two vans, and traveled up to Disney’s California Adventure.
Once we had arrived we were met by our Y.E.S (youth education series) facilitator, who greeted each one of us in a very different way. To some she was professional, to others she was extremely laid back or rude. This was her way of teaching us our first lesson of the day, it only takes seven seconds to establish a first impression.
As we continued throughout the day we learned the importance of identifying core values that we felt were essential in the making of a good leader and how to exemplify these core values throughout our lives.
We did a series of exercises that helped us realize that failure is always a possibility, but it is how we choose to deal with it that will define the legacy we leave behind.
All in all, the training taught us to embrace our roles as leaders and use our leadership gifts as a way of bettering the community around us.
Calvin Christian School will share a blog from a local pastor every month. This month, we share a post titled "Snuggle Time" from children's pastor Chris Montgomery at Emmanuel Faith Community Church.
Crabby, whiny, and out-of-sorts, this attitude was completely unlike her.
My youngest daughter, Megan, was usually very even-tempered and affectionate. That day she fussed about what I fixed for breakfast. She cried because the shirt she wanted to wear hadn’t been washed. She even asked to stay home from school.
When I stopped to think what might be causing her to behave so out-of-character, I didn’t have far to look: she had missed her morning “snuggle-time”.
Megan had created this routine from her earliest days, and “snuggle-time” operated within a predictable framework. She’d get up in the morning, eat breakfast, and then be ready to curl up with me or her Dad. She wanted to talk about whatever was on her mind, and to fill up on hugs.
“Snuggle-time” would be repeated right before bedtime. It seemed to help her unwind before she went to sleep. On a particularly rough day I might find Megan nestling up to me at other times. That was her not-so-subtle way of telling me she’d like some extra attention.
I enjoyed these times at least as much as she did, because I loved her cuddles, and her thoughts gave me insight into Megan’s heart. But she needed that closeness. For some reason that day I had felt too busy to sit close and listen, and Megan’s mood reflected it. Her entire day was affected until I realized that it wasn’t worth the cost to her or to me to finish what I was doing. She matters more to me than that.
Sometimes I, too, find myself crabby and whiny and out of sorts, and it’s usually because I’ve neglected to spend enough time with the Lord. However mistaken it is, I tell myself I’m too busy to make the time. The good news is that He’s never too busy for me, and touching base with Him changes my whole attitude. Because He loves me, understands me, and listens to my heart.
God enjoys those “snuggle-times” when I sit with Him, tell Him what’s on my mind, and just enjoy His company. He likes to hear what I’m thinking, and for me to ask His opinion about what is going on. He doesn’t even mind if I do it more than once a day.
He likes it. But I need it!
"Come near to God, and He will come near to you." James 4:8
“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31b
"I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child is my soul within me." Ps. 131:2
1. What are the sources of stress in your life?
2. Where are you going to get relief from it?
3. How is going to God with your concerns different than going anywhere else?
Father, You know what makes me tick, what I struggle with, and what stresses me. It is only as I come to You that my soul is stilled and quieted. You alone bring peace to my heart. Thank You that You like those times when I just want to be with You.
Why that theme? What does it have to do with my life and my life at school?
One of the reasons has a lot to do with our theme.
Our Christian faith says God (Jesus) came to earth to live with and teach people. No other faith says God did this. Most religions throughout History see God as a very distant and often angry being. They often teach we should be afraid of God. They say people, prophets, speak for God but they are just men. Christianity says God dwelt among us.
Christianity teaches that our God has had the human experience. Jesus was fully man. He lived in community as we do. He had earthly parents, siblings, went to synagogue, went to school, learned a trade. Jesus lived in a faith based community. He learned from his parents and others as well.
We are called to live in community too. We have a church community, a family community, and a school community. Our school community has an important thing in common. We have Jesus Christ and a shared faith in him as our Savior. This makes us different and unique.
Ask yourself how well you live in this community. We are not isolationists. God created us to live with, work with, and go to school with others. How do you treat those around you who are part of this community? Do you respect their gifts and talents? Do you treat them special because they are in community with you? Do you understand they need you and you need them? Do you learn from them? Do you realize that you and they share the most important thing in life, that we have Jesus as our Savior?
How can we grow our community and how can we cultivate it?
I lived in a community that grew fruit, especially apples. Apple trees need to be cultivated. I had forty apple trees on my property and they needed to be watered, fertilized, sprayed, and pruned. After cultivating the apple trees for three or four years, a crop of apples would finally appear.
The Lord knows that we grow best in Christian community. So let’s be thankful that our God is a God who is among his people. He wants to be in community with us. He expects us to cultivate others as well. This year let’s grow in our own relationship with God and with each other.
One of the many reasons I became a teacher was because of the multitude of meaningful experiences I had during my own education. One lesson that I always remember was from convocation my Sophomore year at Providence Christian College. The speaker got up to the pulpit, said a prayer, and then asked us to take our shoes off. He wasn't kidding. He waited to continue until all the parents, students, and visiting college presidents bent down and uncovered their feet. The strangeness of having bare feet in an extremely formal environment made each word he spoke after sink in more firmly. His strange request was alluding, of course, to Moses and the burning bush.
"As a Christian educator, I am daily blessed to stand in the presence of God, and am given the call to lead my students into a deeper understanding of who God is..."
In Exodus 3, when Moses answers God's call out of the bush with, "Here I am," God spoke, commanding him to not come any closer but to "take off your sandals, for the place you are standing is Holy Ground." As a Christian educator, I am daily blessed to stand in the presence of God, and am given the call to lead my students into a deeper understanding of who God is, who they are, and how sifting thoughtful literary analysis through the lens of scripture can provide a growing insight into the truth and lies they will face all their lives. When we learn at Calvin, we are glorifying God. In Hebrew, the word "avodah" means both work and worship, and through their learning, students at Calvin are being trained to experience God's order and sovereignty in all subjects, and all things inside their classwork and out.
Now, requiring my students to take off their shoes is something I will probably not ask a bunch of sweaty highschoolers, who just got done running around in gym class, to do on my clean classroom carpet, but that particular imagery is a story I tell them every year the same day we go over all the minutia in my syllabus. With all the details they are asked to keep track of, I hope to always inspire my students to see the big picture and keep things in perspective: every breath we take, we are learning and living before a Holy God who says of his creation "every square inch is mine." It is a calling we take seriously... even if it requires barefoot learning.