What an exciting, full term we have to look forward to! There are 10 school weeks left for our HSC students, parent-teacher student progress meetings, National Science Week, Grandparents Day, Gala Days, moving day (our classrooms should be finished by the middle of term and then they move to the MPC!) and so much more…
Wow – can you feel the busy start to take over? It starts to dictate your every move, your emotions and your actions. And it is only week 1!
Should it though? This is the critical question. I want to share with you something that I was challenged with over the holidays at a conference I attended with a number of our staff, ITEC 2019 (International Transforming Education Conference). We were confronted with the question: Does our theory match our practice? And, therefore, what identity are we building in our students through these practices?
Such a question naturally hits home, doesn’t it? Not just in the area that we work in, but for our family too. Well, it did at least for me. I was forced to think about what I am habitually condoning in my home and in our school and how these activities, routines and celebrations actually impact upon the identity of those around me.
The biggest challenge I found was in the little things. For example, in the classroom activity do I set a task that asks students how what they have read impacts them, or do I ask how they think it would impact their peers? Thus teaching them to be more aware of those around them. Do I plan a math activity around costing a trip to Hawaii or researching the costs of bringing a refugee into Australia? Thus helping them to see that the world is not just about them.
How about in my own home? When I am tired, do I default to the technological baby sitter and illustrate that I have used all my energy on my job, or do I have meaningful interaction with them in their play and show them that I have saved the best for them? Do I give pocket money for my kids to save up for something just for them, or do I add to this the idea of saving up to save others, holding them accountable to give and receive?
I know these are questions we have all thought of, and if you are anything like me, I find them often all too confronting because to change such daily routines is difficult and often costs. We know the benefits of such living and we want it for our kids, but at times it is just too much.
This Cultural Moment, a podcast I highly recommend, talks about how we are in a post-Christian world and we try to live out godly principles, such as justice forgiveness, grace, mercy etc, without a relationship with the One who gave us these ideas. He argues that we try to live in the Kingdom without the King. To live how we want to, or how God wants us to often feels impossible when we try to do this in our own strength. To love God and love others well, often at the cost of our own desires, has to be done with God’s help and this is the very reason for Jesus. Jesus walked this earth not only so that we could see what God was like, but to reunite us with God, now.
I believe that the challenge for us, as parents, as teachers of your children, is not just to make sure we model well, or plan the right activities, or that the busy is not our boss. I don’t even think the main challenge is to instil the virtues of godly, moral living into the students. I think it is our responsibility to make sure that we provide our students with the means to live well in all situations. The solution for this, and for us, is to get back to making sure we live in the kingdom with the King. To make sure that our daily, weekly and yearly habits help us to know and experience His strength, His insight, and His wisdom so that we can live well in all we do.
How good would it be if our students were able to say these words from Psalm 119:
Oh, how I love
I think about them all day long.
Your commands make me wiser than my enemies,
for they are my constant guide.
Yes, I have more insight than my teachers,
for I am always thinking of your laws.
I am even wiser than my elders,
for I have kept your commandments.
I have refused to walk on any evil path,
so that I may remain obedient to your word.
I haven’t turned away from your regulations,
for you have taught me well.
How sweet your words taste to me;
they are sweeter than honey.
Your commandments give me understanding;
no wonder I hate every false way of life.
word is a lamp to guide my feet
and a light for my path.
I’ve promised it once, and I’ll promise it again:
I will obey your righteous regulations.
I pray that this term brings you much peace and joy and we continue on this unexpected journey together…