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Posts Tagged "Parents"

Ten Mile Markers Along the Road to College

February 05, 2016
By Lynn Hicks

Ten Mile Markers Along the Road to College

by Lynn S. Hicks, College and Career Counselor

 

I can remember feeling fear, trepidation and excitement all knotted together in my stomach as my mother and I set out across the southeast to visit more than ten colleges during the fall of my junior year in high school. Some schools were higher on the list of priorities, so we scheduled formal tours and admissions office interviews. Some schools held intrigue and mystery which necessitated a drive through campus just to experience the ambiance of a large state school or the wonder of an ivy league university. At that point, I’m not sure which made a bigger impression ­­ -- the schools we visited or the delicious food we savored along the way! I can vividly remember standing on the campus of Furman University in front of the front gate fountain and thinking with extreme clarity the following words from scripture, “This is the way, walk ye in it” (Isaiah 30:21). Was it the beauty of the campus, the small sense of community, or the emphasis on academic excellence? All of those factors were true but I just knew it was the “right fit” for the next four years of my academic career. For my mother, I seriously think it was the huge iron gate surrounding the entire campus including a guard gate station monitoring everyone entering and leaving!  I had a peace and assurance in my heart:  Furman was my next home.

 

At Cornerstone Academy, we equip our high school students with the tools necessary in order to choose the best college for their individual needs. Colleges are becoming increasingly more competitive and more expensive. Therefore, it is important for each student to find the “best fit” in order to maximize their funds and minimize time enrolled. Cornerstone has implemented a program called College and Career Pathways to assist students on this journey. This program guides and prepares our students through the decision-­making and college acceptance process.

 

  1. In August, juniors, seniors, and their parents attend an informational college and career meeting.  Students receive timelines stating specific tasks to be accomplished in each month.
  2. In the fall, juniors and seniors attend the college fair hosted by Carson Newman in order to speak with admissions representatives from over seventy colleges and universities. The students evaluate these schools on factors including size, geographic location, cost, private/public, Christian values, sports, majors offered etc.
  3. We encourage students to attend preview days hosted by their top three to five college choices beginning the fall semester of their junior year. This gives the student a personal representation of what it would be like to be a student on that campus.
  4. The guidance office provides ongoing one­-on­-one counsel and assistance as students apply to colleges of their choice and pursue various scholarships. Students identify their academic strengths and weaknesses. They also explore their own career interests (as reported on the ACT interest inventory) as they compare to other professionals in various career fields.
  5. Juniors complete an autobiographical sketch in order to begin organizing their extra­curricular activities, clubs, honors/awards, leadership and service activities. This form assists the student in completing college applications and also to assist teachers and staff in writing letters of recommendation.
  6. In order to assess academic strengths and weaknesses, students complete a battery of standardized tests.

High school testing sequence:

  • In the spring, sophomores take the ACT Plan to prepare for the ACT.

  • In October, juniors take the PSAT to prepare for the SAT as well as to determine eligibility for the National Merit Scholarship.

  • Juniors and seniors are instructed to register for multiple ACT dates in order to achieve the highest score possible.

  1. Cornerstone offers dual enrollment courses through Bryan college for college credit. The Dual Enrollment Grant funds these classes with certain limits and criteria. Cornerstone Academy faculty teach these classes on our campus. Students may also enroll in dual enrollment courses after school hours at WSCC. These opportunities allow the student to accrue college credits with minimal financial commitment and to enter college with a jump start on college hours.
  2. The guidance office sends transcripts and letters of recommendation on behalf of the student.
  3. Students must complete fifteen hours of community service per high school year which comprise a blend of school, community, and church based service.
  4. We encourage students to meet TN Promise deadlines for applications, meetings, FAFSA, and service hours. This government scholarship will pay for any student enrolled in an AA program for two years at a participating community college or four year university up to $4,000 last dollar (after all other scholarships have been applied).

Now, as the mother of a senior, I have a whole new perspective on this road trip to college. No longer am I the senior making the “best fit” college choice, but instead I hold the role of a praying parent for my daughter to capture God’s vision for the next season of her life. It is our mission at Cornerstone Academy to prepare our students for the future by providing them with a Christ-­centered, classical education that equips them to achieve academic excellence and spiritual maturity.

Showing the Gospel to Our Children

October 09, 2015
By Chelsea Carrier

One Way to Show the Gospel to Our Children

Chelsea L. Carrier

 

Recently I went on the annual high school trip to Doe River Gorge. On the first night we had a bonfire on the railroad tracks, and the headmaster led a hike above the gorge. No flashlights were allowed. We were to stay between the tracks and follow the headmaster’s voice and the person directly in front of us to avoid falling over the edge of the cliff. Most kept saying they couldn’t see their hand in front of their face, and I had to agree. The only thing I could see was the phosphorescent mineral on the tracks, an occasional glow worm, and the stars. Fortunately, I was right behind a young man who, despite his quiet demeanor, had the thoughtfulness to communicate each step.

“Watch your step here, Miss Carrier. Go a little to your right. Now back to the left. Watch the rails.”

He was only a few steps in front of me, but when walking in pitch darkness, the next step is all that really matters.

On our journey through life, hopefully with Christ, we may feel at times as though we are only one step in front of those following us. We may not really know our own next step. We are in just as much confusion as they.

As a young teacher who is still single and has no children, I often wonder what wisdom I could even offer my students. I’m still a student myself in so many ways, constantly having to seek counsel. But what I find from my colleagues and mentors is that we are all learning. Sometimes we are walking behind someone, sometimes beside, and sometimes just one step in front. But God uses all three. As I continue to learn through my own imperfections and contemplate the incarnation highlighted in our theme verse for the year, John 1: 14, I’ve determined that one of the best ways to exemplify the gospel is through my own brokenness.

Many situations and ideas come to mind with a word as broad as brokenness, and I’ve been contemplating this term for well-over a month now. After brainstorming on my own and discussing this word with a friend and colleague, I’d like to share the following three aspects of brokenness:

  1. human limitation
  2. consequences of a fallen world
  3. consequences of sin

 

In other words: being human. With the exception of Christ, who was fully human and yet never sinned, part of the human condition is experiencing all three forms of brokenness. In this post, I’ll only focus on the first one.

As I’ve developed relationships with students over the past four years, I’ve learned a few ways to “come alongside” students as we struggle with human limitation.

  • Sharing with them that I’m not a math person, that I had a meltdown while taking the ACT for the first time, that I was the kid in college who always had her hand up, not because she knew the answer, but because she had a question, that I got mad at my mom for making me rewrite a paper in high school, that I’m just plain tired this week--those are the things I have to weave in my conversations with them.

 

  • Asking for help passing out papers, opening a door, or cleaning the classroom--those the small ways to show them I am not above receiving help.

 

  • Allowing them to pray for me on a bad day when I can no longer hide it--those are the moments when they realize that I am human.

 

I don’t have to share every detail, and I’m not advocating the glorification of past struggles or complaining as a perpetual victim or martyr. That’s not truly sharing brokenness. But even scripture is filled with examples of godly people honestly sharing their brokenness with others for the encouragement of others and glory of God. This is the story of the gospel: the God of the universe so loved the world that He accepted the vulnerability of becoming a man, and while He never sinned, He suffered as one who had.


Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 4:5-8)


Work Cited

The ESV Study Bible. Ed. Lane T. Dennis. Wheaton: Crossway, 2008. Print.

 

The Blessedness of Ordinary

January 22, 2015
By Edie Wadsworth

"In His incarnation, Christ has knit creation back together and sanctified our flesh, our mundane.  He has redeemed for us all the 'actual textures of physical life' and granted us the 'full extent of the  mysteries of the incarnation and all that flows from it, and all that make our mortal life fruitful once more."

"The incarnation took all that properly belongs to our humanity and delivered it back to us, redeemed.  All of our inclinations and appetites and capacities and yearnings are purified and gathered up and glorified by Christ.  He did not come to thin out human life;  He came to set it free.   All the dancing and feasting and processing and singing and building and sculpting and baking and merrymaking that belong to us, and that were stolen away into the service of false gods, are returned to us in the gospel.”~Thomas Howard

You know the list.   Laundry, cooking, dishes, cleaning, some crafting, and  even the noble task of rearing young children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.   It's quite noble work but it's so easy to despise it.   To wish it away while daydreaming about grandiose plans and schemes of some lofty new year’s goals & a big important job where your work is highly valued.

But my life doesn't look like that most days.

Most days, I'm here doing ordinary work  in a never ending cycle.

Washing the same dishes, cooking the same food, folding the same load of laundry, over and over again.

But today, I choose to relish it.

I hold the laundry tight and inhale extra long and think about the love that is modeled when a woman washes the same clothes over and over, day in, day out----almost touching something sacred----this washing and consecrating of materials things for a noble and good purpose.   Lingering in the renewal that comes from being clean.   My heart aches for that washing too.   Perhaps it's a blessed thing, this daily rhythm of life.

We love the grand scale, the best days, the shiny things.  

But what about all those ordinary days?  Where is God then?

He always chooses the ordinary things to do his greatest work.

He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.

He chose ordinary fishermen.

He comes to us in the most humble of ways.

He gives bread to feed us, water to wash us, a baby in manger to be the salvation of the world.

He is no despiser of the small days.

It is in them that we see the key to life.

Not in falling in love but in loving everyday,  with clean socks and warm soup.

Not in that one blissful day of childbirth but in the birth of each day, one a time, where the daily routine teaches us to depend on our Father,  who has made no provision for tomorrow---but only today, in this daily bread.

Perhaps this thing I've come to dread----this daily drudgery----is in fact my greatest teacher, in disguise.

Teaching me to live in this moment.  With these children.  And this sacred work.    It's really all there is.

Today is the day of salvation.

So, I hold on tightly to little hands.   And I stir the soup.   And I fold the towels.

And I say thank you for this work, this calling.

And for this blessed ordinary day---where grace and mercy rain down and turn water into wine, drudgery into vocation, and curse into blessing.

Public School, Homeschool, or Private School: What Not to Do

January 16, 2015
By Tracy Carrin

When our first child was four years old my husband and I found ourselves in a sea of choices about his education.  Adrift on uncharted waters, we researched and prayed.  Public school? Homeschool? Private school?  Questions did not always lead to answers, but more questions.  Eventually, we did discern the will of God in order to begin educating our firstborn, but after three children and many years of educating, we still frequently re-evaluate the educational needs of each child.

Are you trying to discern the best educational path for your child?  Consider the following:

We must not let our child decide.

Children do not have the wisdom to discern which educational choice is best for them.  Their opinion should be heard and valued but not solely relied upon.

We must not let our friends decide.

Making choices because of peer pressure rarely yields a wise decision.  We may have to swim upstream to do what we think is best for our child.

We must not let our extended family decide.

Family members often have strong feelings about choices in education.  If Aunt Sue was a public school teacher, there may be pressure to go that route.  If your sister homeschools, there may be an expectation to choose that route.  While we should consider their opinions, the privilege and the burden of the decision rests on us.

We must not let our anxieties decide.

Remember God’s instruction in Philippians 4: 6-7.  “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

We must not let our finances decide.

Homeschooling and private education sometimes come with hefty price tags.

Consider God’s promise of help and provision.  Finances factor significantly in our plans, but let’s not forget that God can provide a way for us to follow our convictions.

We must not let our own educational experience decide.

Just because we were educated one way does not necessarily mean that way is a good fit for our child.  Each person has a unique personality, unique gifts, varying levels of intelligence, and a special path God has ordained.

We must not let our fatigue or discouragement decide.

How many times has our exhaustion caused us to lose heart?  During those times of parental fatigue and discouragement we may look for an “easy way.”  Beware.  We may need to stay the course through the tough time rather than altering our path due to difficulties.

Each of these may be a factor in decision-making, but beware of allowing one of them to steer the ship.  We can trust the Master of the sea to guide us. Remember that He says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go.  I will counsel you and watch over you” (Psalm 32:8). Let’s pray and listen for His instruction.  After all, He loves our children even more than we do.

 

Three Reasons to Still Read as a Family

January 09, 2015
By Chelsea Carrier

A few weeks ago I was in the library with my 6th graders. As they lay on the rug reading Nancy Drew and perusing the shelves for books both desired and required, my eyes caught sight of a book I hadn’t heard in years.

It was The Good Sam Harrington, and I vividly remembered watching my best friend’s mom recite it. Mrs. Stockton is one of the best story-tellers I know, and I remembered how even in high school she had held me spellbound as she performed a dramatic retelling of the simple book she had memorized. I slipped the book from the shelf, thinking I’d try it out on my eighth graders during study hall. I asked them to simply be respectful as I read and even told them they could work as they listened.

At first, I was too busy trying to read the story well (and honestly getting caught up in it myself) that I didn’t pay much attention to my students’ responses. But at one point I managed to see some of them in my peripheral. They were sitting there, looking at me, eyes filled with anticipation. The same pairs of eyes that give me blank stares. The same pairs of eyes that have rolled in my presence. The same pairs of eyes that have narrowed in deep thought at times and widened with laughter at others. Once again, I was reminded of the importance of reading to children, regardless of their age.

Below are three reasons why you should still read as a family.

1.      Reading as a family allows your child to learn from your example.

 

I remember sitting in my dad’s lap while he read this little book called The Little Taxi that Hurried. No one can read that book like my dad. One of these differences has to do with sound effects. Only Dad can make that taxi honk properly. Thankfully, I have five younger brothers and a sister, so dad hasn’t stopped reading The Little Taxi that Hurried. In fact, everyone crowds in the living room when he reads to the younger kids.

 

As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that more than the sound effects, different voices, and expression, one of the beautiful things about my dad’s reading is that it isn’t perfect. He stumbles over sentences and mispronounces words, just like the rest of us, but he doesn’t care because he loves his kids and wants to share a story with them. For some reason, I’ve noticed that people tend to approach reading aloud like praying: if you can’t do it perfectly, then don’t do it all. While we want our students to improve their reading skills and learn to become engaging storytellers, it’s important to remember that we are all human, which means we are full of quirks and imperfections and therefore in desperate need of a holy and loving God. When you read with your children, you are providing them with not only a model of good reading but a parable of living in grace.

 

2.      Reading as a family allows older children to encourage and challenge younger children.

 

About a year ago, I read a few passages from The Hobbit in my living room during  a discussion I was having with my mom and fifteen-year-old brother. I didn’t anticipate my other younger brother and sister listening. They asked me if I could read the book to them. They were six and seven, but I thought I’d humor them. and then let it go when they got bored. But they wanted to hear the story. After about twenty minutes or so, my voice would start cracking, my throat would grow dry, and they would still be asking me to keep on reading. It was during those months that we read that I realized how important it is for younger children to listen to challenging books. Not only does it make them feel special because someone is paying attention to them, but reading challenging books familiarizes them with advanced vocabulary, grammar, and style. In addition to exposing them to language, many times reading challenging classics introduces children to the great ideas and themes explored in literature, generating vital conversations at home.

 

3.      Reading as a family allows younger children to encourage older children.

 

I tried an experiment a year or two ago. I told my seventh graders they were going to read to kindergarten. We practiced reading children’s books. No one complained. Little kids don’t know when you mess up, or at least they don’t care. Students who struggled with reading Dickens and Shakespeare had five and six-year-olds in their laps hanging on their every word. One young man in particular caught my attention. I already knew he was a good kid and that he thought deeply, but reading took him a while. He had those kids entranced, and he came alive, reading them this story, and all I could think was, “He’s going to make an amazing dad.”

 

Not only did my seventh graders find a “safe zone” for reading, but they were able to minister to children in a practical way. They also experienced success with reading, something that some of them rarely experience or believe possible.

True learning is a lifestyle involving a community of people at various ages leading, serving, encouraging, and challenging one another. So create some free minutes this evening, have everyone pick out a book, and read together.


 

Three Reasons to Get Married at Five

December 19, 2014
By Megan Bundy

Students lined the hallway. Parents waited at the mouth of the aisle. Our Headmaster stood in his best. To the right of his knee stood a little groom wearing a tuxedo with the letter Q pinned to the fold of his coat; he was awaiting his bride. The violin pierced the hum of the crowd and one by one the rest of the kindergarten class walked down the hall. First the flower girl, then the bashful bridesmaids and the giggling groomsmen, and finally came the bride. Her face was sweet and elegant, as if she were imagining what her real wedding would be like one day. Tied to her white bouquet was the letter U. Vows were exchanged, and finally the wedding ended with a resounding “kw”! Yes, it was our annual Q and U wedding.

 

This Cornerstone Academy tradition, started by former kindergarten teacher Hope Walker, is an excellent window into what we try to accomplish through classical education. This is an education where students are not simply told what to learn, but where they celebrate it, experience it, and integrate it with life.

 

1. To celebrate learning

Learning is not meant to be a passive experience where kids are simply told what to do and remember. The Q and U wedding shows kindergarteners that learning is a privilege, not simply a requirement. While every lesson cannot be turned into a party, it sets a tone for the children that learning can and should be celebrated.

 

2. To experience learning

The Q and U wedding allows the students to actively experience an idea using all five senses. The kids are not simply told that U always follows Q; they become Q and U, and take a familiar concept like marriage and use it as a lasting reminder of the forever union of these two letters.

 

3. To integrate learning

Traditionally our kindergarteners bring a “wedding gift” to the Q and U wedding. The gifts that would normally be for the bride and groom are instead given to a charity. Through this, students begin to understand that learning is not simply meant to be self-serving, but it should be shared, used to give back to the community. We especially emphasize that what we learn should always be used to glorify God.

 

In conclusion, marriage at five is not too young, but just the right time to celebrate, experience, and integrate learning!

Why Failure is Acceptable: An argument against perfection

December 16, 2014
By Faith Acker

As I write this blog post, my desk is piled with books and papers and ungraded student work. My coffee mug huddles timidly (only because it is empty) in the shadow of an enormous stack of papers I am supposed to grade and checklist of tasks I am supposed to complete (including this blog post).

I do not feel either efficient or productive.

When I originally drafted this post, it told a story about the importance of asking questions, and of resting in uncertainty. Cleverly linking this to my previous post, I pointed out that the questions The Odyssey raises allow us to appreciate the limits of our knowledge, defined by the all-important phrase “I don’t know.”

Since that draft, I have noticed that my own pride is not focused on right answers, but on efficiency and timeliness. For my students, “I don’t know” is often a mark of failure; for me, “I can’t do that” is the downfall of my pride.

It is easy, particularly in school, to become entranced by the idea of perfection. My students desire the all-elusive “A+,” and I selfishly long both to see them succeed and to seem efficient and productive in the process. Each week, my students strive for high grades and correct answers (and I applaud them for this), while I struggle to return tests and papers and quizzes in a timely manner. We focus on these goals, but they are ultimately irrelevant.

Far more important than my students’ grades are their questions and, even, their failures. I long to see them rest in the security of God’s omniscience when their own strength fails them. Similarly, in my own life, it is far more important that I learn to be humble and to rest on God’s strength than that I complete all my required tasks by the deadlines. (Did I mention that this blog post is late?)

Much as Christians want to understand God and His world, we are limited by our frailty. When I have failed to check off all the items on my list of daily tasks, I fail. I hate this, but when the day ends and I leave my teetering tower of uncompleted work, I go home not as a failed teacher, but as a sinner loved by God. When my students forget the facts they have learned, or (more typically) don’t pause to read the directions, they can relax in the comfort that God knows all things (and created the ultimate directions). Even as we admit our ignorance and feebleness, our

God reigns supreme.

As midterms loom, my own weaknesses become more and more evident, and my students become more and more panicked. This year, I hope to rejoice in my failure instead of wallowing in frustration, because it is—as all things are—an opportunity to see God work in me.

The One Thing Our Kids Need

December 09, 2014
By Edie Wadsworth

The sun was pouring into the east sky, scattering orange like a blanket over everything.  She was sitting in the front seat, unable or unwilling to look at me, her head turned decidedly away and her body clinging to her side of the car sending its message loud and clear.  Was there a tear in the corner of her eye?  I don't know because I was too angry to ask.  We were on our way to a social gathering and I just needed her to get over herself already.  What I was really secretly thinking is that I wanted her to show my friends how pleasant my teenager was, how smart and well adjusted, how sweet and kind to be around—all of which would translate into some imaginary points for me.  What I didn't want was for her to sulk through the whole thing and make me look bad.

And we were running out of time, because we were almost there and neither of us seemed capable of moving toward reconciliation.

Why was she even sulking?  I couldn't for the life of me figure it out and I was too stubborn to ask—maybe too afraid that I had done something to cause it.

So, I lost my patience and basically demanded that she play the part.  I didn't yell but I was harsh.  I bulldozed right through the situation and got what I wanted.  It wasn't my best parenting moment.  We walked in and she pulled herself together. She was perfectly behaved.  She was engaging and courteous.  But, she was hurt and probably only I could tell.

On the way home, my heart began to soften and the guilt set in.  I wondered to myself at what price had I wrangled her obedience.  I thought back to times in my own life when I knew I was being valued for my performance, by what good I could bring to the table and I felt the sting of doing the same thing to this person I supposedly loved with all my heart.  We had a long talk about what had happened.  I apologized for being harsh, for demanding results.  She explained why she was upset and then apologized for the sulking.  It was pretty simple, in retrospect.  We are sinners who fail each other everyday.  The magic is in being willing to fess up to all the ways we hurt ones we love most.  She just wanted to be heard and understood.  But she didn't know how to ask for it and I was too full of my own selfish expectations to even ask.

Parenting by law or by sheer will will often get us the results we want but those results won't endure because they will begin a long and slow fracture of the heart. Just like in our spiritual life, the law requires us to be a certain way, to follow certain rules, but it does nothing to win our hearts.  Only love can do that. The law requires but love inspires.  The law kills but love makes alive.  The law leaves us empty,  despairing at all the ways we never measure up.  Love fills us to overflowing, and the overflow seeps out to everyone in our wake. This is the love we have been given in Christ, the God Man who came into our very flesh to be our perfect substitute in all things, even our failure to love rightly.

In turn, we have been given the tremendous, dare I say, impossible task of passing that love on to our children.  And for that, there is no shortcut—only a lifetime of living it out in the everyday mundane trenches of ordinary life, mostly confessing how painfully we fail at doing the one thing we had hoped to do well.

Love.

It never fails.   Even when we do.  Perhaps especially then.

Four Truths to Help You Survive the Logic Stage With Your Child

December 01, 2014
By Chelsea Carrier

One of the qualities I’ve grown to love about my logic level students is the quirky combination of playful innocence and sporadic insight. While the fluctuating maturity levels can prove frustrating, they also indicate a beautiful transition.

Below are four simple truths to help you and your child survive some of the possible obstacles common to the logic stage.

1. Transitions may be frightening, even painful, but they are healthy.

At some point during the logic stage, students often have to make some pretty painful transitions. These are the years in which they are learning (and parents and teachers are training them) to think for themselves. Consequences start to become more natural. It’s one thing to tell your child before he starts sixth, seventh, and eighth grade, “You’re going to have to buckle down this year because Mom and Dad and all of your teachers aren’t going to hold your hand anymore.” It’s another to discover missing papers on the kitchen table, in the couch cushions, in the floorboard, or worst of all, in the trash.  It’s also another matter entirely the first time your straight A student makes a C on a paper or fails a quiz simply because she didn’t study or take her time. The work in the logic stage is different, it’s hard, and with all of the new freedom comes plenty of opportunities for students to stumble, and then, with grace and firmness from those placed in their lives to train them, discover what God is developing them to be.

2. Erratic behavior can be…normal.

I’ve had girls who refused to speak above a whisper when performing a recitation turn right around and ask to do hand motions while Christmas caroling at the nursing home. I’ve had boys squeal at random times and then giggle about it. A few weeks, days, even hours later, they’re asking deep theological questions about the trinity that most adults don’t even begin to know how to address.

3. The logic stage looks different for every child.

Many times parents’ frustrations include the underlying assumption that their child is the only one struggling with x, and therefore they shouldn’t be. But God develops people as he sees fit when he sees fit. Sure, there are patterns that he seems to follow, but there’s a wide range within those patterns for developing a unique story for each person.

So often when I hear from parents, it’s as if they’re thinking: Who is this kid? Where did I go wrong? We never had this problem in fifth grade! Or even the first half of sixth!

But now their A/B perfect attendance ray of sunshine is losing papers, turning in late assignments, failing quizzes, and worst of all…rolling her eyes and slamming doors. When they ask her what she has for homework, she sighs, maybe even falls into a fit of giggles, and answers, “I don’t know.”

Or maybe not. Maybe he insists on staying up past eleven working on homework due the next day, or Friday, or next week. He keeps his planner, crossing everything off the list. He won’t watch T.V., get on the computer, read his favorite book, or play outside. He begs to stay home from church because he “has so much to do.” But he won’t talk to his parents, let alone his teachers. He’s too afraid of disappointing them.

4.Students are naturally inquisitive, and they do want to talk.

I’ve had C students, students who struggle to keep that C, but are some of the best students I have ever had. These are often, though not always, the same students who communicate with their parents and teachers and do what they are asked when they are asked. Most of them genuinely struggle with reading and logic level/ analytical thinking. But they are, ironically, the ones who “get it.” By “get it” I don’t mean sentence diagramming or Shakespeare. I mean they seem to truly grasp that Christ is the center of everything, even the small, everyday occurrences. These are the kids whose parents talk with them when they sit in their house, when they walk by the way, when they lie down, and when they rise up (Deut. 6.7). While some logic level students may spend time giggling or flying paper airplanes, nearly all of them have plenty of questions, if not now, then later.

 

It’s hard to pinpoint the source of these changes. Some might say hormones, others busy schedules, still others a relationship conflict with friends or family--we could analyze the factors for hours and find plenty of possible causes. But at the end of the day, growing pains aside, I still see a group of kids who, for the most part, desire to please the Lord, even if, just like adults, they haven’t quite figured out what all of that means.

Work Cited

The ESV Study Bible.Ed. Lane T. Dennis. Wheaton: Crossway, 2008. Print.

 

Book Review: Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung

November 24, 2014
By Tracey Carrin

Crazy Busy

A Fresh Perspective


 

I was too busy to read this book.  You know how it is — soccer practice, dance class, piano lessons, work, housework, just too busy.  I always feel behind, like I’m trying to catch up.  So I definitely did not have time to read this book. I told some other people to read it.  I thought about reading it.  But I was just too busy.

Can you relate?  Rush, rush, rush — always the next thing.  Life seems to be on fast forward.  So what made me actually stop to read it?  A podcast. I serendipitously heard Kevin DeYoung speaking on one of my favorite podcasts.  As I heard him talk, I was magnetized.  I just had to read it.

Since I know you are as busy as I am, I am going to give you the best things I gleaned from this book, Crazy Busy, by Kevin DeYoung.

Sit at the feet of Jesus.  Simple, right?  You already knew that, right?  Yes, but we forget.  We too easily become Marthas — worried and bothered about so many things.  We cannot do everything, and we cannot discern what to do and what to leave undone without seeking His wisdom.

We are finite.  We cannot do it all, and we weren’t designed to do it all.  God has a specific place for each of us and a specific sphere of influence.

Sleep and rest show us that we are dependent creatures.  Our God needs no sleep, but we must plan to have breaks.

This little volume was a refreshing breeze to my soul, pointing me to worship our great God who is boundless, limitless, infinite, and wise.  The ideas DeYoung shared caused me to take a deep breath and think about why I am so busy, and then to sit at Jesus’ feet and ask Him for wisdom and help.  Highly recommended!

 

If Jesus had to be deliberate about his priorities, so will we.  We will have to work hard to rest.  We will have to be dedicated to being disciplined.  We will have to make it our mission to stay on mission.”

—Kevin DeYoung

 

Redeeming the Morning Commute

November 11, 2014
By Edie Wadsworth

 

It started before we ever got in the car.  She couldn't find her jacket or her permission slip and her socks were all dirty.  I never made it to the grocery store and the breakfast choices were slim to none.  It was Monday and we were running late, to make matters worse.  I was irritated with her shortcomings and she was irritated with mine.  So there we sat silent, each avoiding eye contact with the other, each wishing the ride to school were shorter.  I wheeled through the fog into the convenience store so she could get a nice healthy breakfast like pop-tarts or powdered donuts and she balked, saying she didn't have time to stop.  Great.  Now, I would have to feel guilty that she didn't eat.  I made an angry u-turn and an equally angry sigh.  She began to tear up.

When we got close to the school, I gave her my phone like every other day and asked her to read the Psalm for the day.  She read it in a broken voice.

"Hear my prayer, O Lord; give ear to my pleas for mercy! 

In your faithfulness, answer me.

Enter not into judgement with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you.

For the enemy has pursued my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground;  he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.

Therefore, my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled.

I remember the days of old; I meditate on all you have done;  

I ponder the work of your hands;  I stretch out my hands to you;

my soul thirsts for you like parched land.  

Answer me quickly, O lord, for my spirit fails.

Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down in the pit. 

Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in You I trust."   (Psalm 143:1-8)

And then we said the Lord's prayer in unison like we always do,

Our Father, who art in heaven

Hallowed be Thy name,

Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done

On earth as it is in heaven

Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us

Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil

For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory

Forever and ever, Amen.

And with the very words of God himself we are restored to fellowship with each other.  She wipes her eyes and I hug her tight before she gets out of the car.  

So simple, so powerful.  

Just a few life-giving words and the prayer that Jesus gave us to pray.  His Word creating faith where there is doubt, love where there is strife, forgiveness where there is sin—the morning commute and all its stress redeemed by better words than we would ever think to say.  

And tomorrow, we'll do it all over again.

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