I wish we could bottle all the enthusiasm and excitement from the start of our school year so that I could release it in small doses later in the year. New clothes, new faces, new school supplies, and renewed attitudes all blend together to generate a liturgy of praise. This continues into the school picnic where the simplicity of sharing a grilled hotdog with old friends and new acquaintances becomes an opportunity to worship within the ecosystem that supports the Christian formation of our children. This is what school is intended to be, but we know this vision will be challenged.
Not too long after the start of the year, the new jacket is missing, the promises to never be late for school have fallen by the wayside, the homework battles have begun, the first cold has reared its ugly head, and the first email home from the teacher has been received. On top of it, our churches are starting their programs, community sports teams are gearing up, and we suddenly begin to realize that our calendars are a great deal heavier than they were a few weeks ago. The invigorating taste of the grilled hot dog is replaced by the heaviness of the cold oatmeal that seems to permeate our senses.
An ecosystem that is constantly under stress will eventually become unbalanced and risk running out of energy. As a school community, I feel we need to do a better job of maintaining that balance in a way that encourages the high standards for Christian formation we expect from our community. This goal is rather lofty, but I believe God has shaped Shoreline Christian in a way that can uniquely make a difference in the way we think about school. Many of our teachers are parents and grandparents who have/had children in our school. Our School Board and its committees are comprised of current parents who have children in all but two grades of the school. As professional educators and as parents in leadership positions within the school, we are in dialogue about liturgies and habits, both formative and deformative, that help to shape our school. It is that start of an exciting discussion I pray continues for many years as we explore new and better ways to work together to find balance in Christian formation.
While the teachers and School Board are a very important group, the ecosystem really requires each and every parent to contribute their gifts and talents if it is to realize its full potential in Christian formation. Think of it this way, the more people sharing their energy within the ecosystem in a focused manner, the stronger and more dynamic the system can be for our children. Part of this involves the School Board inviting parents and others to attend meetings they host at least three times during the year to inform parents of some of the projects, aspirations, and exasperations as it shapes the habits of the school. I want to invite you to attend a gathering on September 26 to discuss what this vision of a Christian formation ecosystem means for your child and how you can be involved. The School Board also invites you to be attend meetings on October 17 to look at some of the plans it has for the year, on February 27 to give input as it develops the 2017-18 budget, and on May 15 to elect new Board members and to review the year.
Let’s keep the spirit of the first few weeks of school alive by contributing your gifts, talents, and time in making a difference in the ecosystem for Christian formation we celebrate at our school.