At Christ Lutheran School, we ask a lot of our 8th graders. By the time that our students get to 8th grade, they know the ropes of the place. Even if they are new to the school, they learn quickly that the 8th graders are to be leaders in the building. In exit interviews with this year’s 8th graders, one thing that most of them mentioned that they will miss about CLS is how it feels like a family. This feeling of “family” in our school does not happen by accident. It is intentional, and much of it has been fostered by this year’s graduating class.
I get the distinct privilege of working with the 8th-grade class on leadership. At the end of most school days, the 8th grade is with me for a time where we focus on leadership through stewardship and service. We look at Christ’s example of leadership and focus on ways that we can follow that example of servant leadership. At times, the class would clean up around the building or work in the community. They worked on school-wide projects (like the national day of prayer) and helped with our Chapel Missions throughout the year. In all of this, our CLS class of 2018, helped to build this family, even among the new students and families in our midst.
Thinking back the first days of school this year, an incident sticks out clearly in my mind that shows this example of family fostered by our graduating class. We had a few new students join us for 8th grade this year. That first week of school, I wanted to see how these new 8th graders were fitting in. During recess, I walked out to the field behind our school where the upper-grade students were playing football. What caught my attention was how our “new” students had already picked up on the “family” thing as they were working with a few kindergartners to help them play along with the “big kids”.
As we wrap up the year, I want to take some time to share the things that our students learn at Christ Lutheran School (CLS). At CLS, our teachers equip students to grow in the knowledge of the world and in the knowledge of The Lord. Our teachers have instilled in our students many things.
The teachers have given our students tools to use to grow in the knowledge of the world. Walking around the building and in the classrooms during the school day, it is not uncommon to see students working together with a ruler or compass to measure for a project or activity. Walk into art class any time and you are sure to find the students working with a brush on a painting or a tool of some sort to make their clay project just right.
Our teachers have taught the students to use their hands to learn and serve their neighbor. Every week in chapel one will see the students bring an offering to help their neighbor in the community and world. At the end of the school day, you will likely see an 8th grader working with their hands to clean up or beautify the entrance to the building.
The teachers have set the student’s feet in motion. In Physical Education, Mr. Barz led the students in learning different games and activities that keep their bodies in motion for a healthy lifestyle. As field day drew near, he helped the students learn about and practice for track and field events.
The teachers have helped the students to use their brain to think about things critically. The teachers have asked tough questions and encouraged students to think about important issues that face us today; issues that the students will one day be a part of solving. The teachers have instilled knowledge that will serve the students in their profession and as they advance toward it.
And yet, an education at Christ Lutheran does not end there.
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt once said “Never mistake knowledge for wisdom. One helps you make a living; the other helps you make a life. ” It is the hope of your teachers at Christ that we did more than fill brains with knowledge, but that we also instilled wisdom; wisdom that can only come from our creator. Wisdom that speaks of God’s love for you and others.
Because an education at Christ Lutheran is rooted in The creator, in addition to gaining knowledge in math, science, history etc., CLS students also learn how to love God and love neighbor, true wisdom. This is what makes Christian education vital. An education at Christ Lutheran is a benefit to the child’s brain, but it is also a benefit to their heart.
In John chapter 19 we hear that:
“Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.”
Did you hear that? “The soldier pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.” His heart was pierced for you.
In addition to all that a student learns and all that our teachers try to feed their brains, we pray that with the help of the Holy Spirit our teachers fed their hearts.
After all, what good is feeding the brain without feeding the heart?
Neil F. Webb