I am going to begin this post by stating very clearly how proud I am of Surrey Christian School. We spend a lot of time discussing how to provide formational learning experiences for our students – learning experiences that shape them as children of God who will serve the Kingdom. We embed characteristics of a Jesus follower into our daily curriculum (God worshipper, justice seeker, creation enjoyer, etc.) and work to deliberately design learning that forms students in that direction. We use the language of real work that meets a real need for real people with the idea that real experiences shape students far more than fabricated experiences.
Then along comes a worldwide pandemic and everything we do is put on hold, then put online, and now back in school in a limited way. There is a sadness in all this for me as we know that online learning limits the formative work we care so deeply about. Don’t get me wrong, I believe our staff have done an amazing job of pivoting towards online learning and have worked hard to support students, but it’s just not the same!
However, I also believe humans are shaped by their daily experiences, by the practices we choose to partake in, and by what comes our way without our choosing. So, then this COVID experience is also formative. In fact, I believe it is a huge opportunity to shape the hearts and minds of our students by how we respond. We can respond out of a position of scarcity and self-orientation, or we can respond out of a position of gratitude and others-orientation. We can choose to care for ourselves, our families and those around us well. And this brings me back to my opening line as I believe Surrey Christian School has chosen to work together for the good of all our students. The following are some of the examples that jump to mind:
We use the language of real work that meets a real need for real people with the idea that real experiences shape students far more than fabricated experiences.
My hope is that this experience together will shape our students. I hope they will see a community of parents and grandparents that stepped up and showed care for each other. I hope they see their teachers, education assistants and administrators working hard to help them succeed. I hope they see a community of people who reacted from a position of gratitude and generosity, and I hope they tie all of that to being a part of a community that seeks to engage God’s world in the servant way of Jesus.
I encourage you to talk to your children about this experience, to tell them about the many families who donated money to help others, to tell them their teachers put in many extra hours learning new technologies and planning for their success, to let them know they are part of a community that cares for their individual well-being and the individual well-being of their classmates. And I hope that in sharing these truths with your children, they will internalize the idea that in crisis, we band together and show care because we are loved by Jesus and called to love like Jesus.