It’s an early Saturday morning and my three year old son is drumming on our couch while my six year old daughter is finishing writing her LOL Valentine cards to her classmates. We look at the cards and notice how God made each girl beautiful, with different colours and styles of hair, many different shades of skin, and a lot of sparkly accessories. My daughter smiles and shares, “Maybe that’s what LOL’s are for…to remember that everyone’s different”.
I grew up in a time, space, and culture when it was encouraged to see everyone as the same. There was no difference to acknowledge, celebrate, or honour because we didn’t spend time naming those things. We avoided those conversations or dialogue around differences perhaps from a fear of confrontation, perhaps from an intent to focus on what’s similar. I’m sure it was from a place of positive intentions.
My daughter is now being invited into a different story–the story that God creates beauty in diversity and that she has a role to play in that story. A story that names each child as a unique image bearer and that through deepening our connection with one another we can also deepen our connection with God who created and loves us all.
As a part of our mission to Educate for Wholeness, we speak a lot of about living into our role in God’s story as Community-Builders and Image Reflectors. We are learning more and more that an essential part of building community and seeing God’s reflection is listening to others’ stories, opening up our own posture to learn, and both celebrating and recognizing the way that we are all connected yet created uniquely in God’s image. We are all uniquely designed pieces of God’s mosaic.
We are all uniquely designed pieces of God’s mosaic.
Encouraging our students to identify themselves and others as uniquely made in God’s image continues to be a part of our learning stories. Last year, our grade four students developed a friendship with Joseph Dandurand, a Kwantlen storyteller and writer. Joseph guided our students through a poetry writing project and as we grew in community with one another, we also grew in shared understanding. The students presented their poetry and their reflections of their journey with the greater community (including at last year’s Celebration of Learning and at a local coffee shop for a Poetry Café night). The following poem ‘Building’ by Joshua summarizes the hope of this collaboration.
I am building something with Joseph. It is a relationship. I look at the world and I wonder what it would be like if the world wasn’t broken. Would everybody have each other’s backs? Would the world be perfect? Would everybody reflect God’s image? Cause everybody has the day that they feel like they don’t belong. But God says we ALL belong.
Over this past school year, the staff at Surrey Christian School have been engaging in Anti-Racism Training with Dr. Lisa Gunderson and Andrea Chatwin. Our deep hope related to this work is that SCS staff would recognize how racism manifests itself in ourselves and in our school, and that we would be empowered through knowledge and skills to engage in our lifelong calling to seek wholeness through equity. We have further work to do but are committed to continuing to journey intentionally.
As we continue to invite our students, staff, and communities in playing their role in God’s story, may we all be encouraged to remember the beauty and depth of honouring “that everyone’s different”.