By: Joe Filbrun
Early in the process of bringing our son to Shoreline Christian, we learned that SCS is a “parent-run” school. Since we had been homeschooling our kids for 7 years at that point, we were already very committed to the concept, and, like most parents I know, took seriously our responsibility as parents to be the primary educators of our children. What we were missing, though, was a clear sense of how we might continue to fulfill that responsibility with our children at SCS. We knew there were opportunities to volunteer for various roles in the classroom, at recess, on field trips, and the like, but we weren’t sure how those off-and-on types of involvement fit into the “parent-run” model.
If you’re new to SCS, or if you’ve been here a while, but still don’t quite know what “parent-run” means or what it looks like for you to participate in that, here are some things I’ve learned along the way that I hope might be helpful.
We’re in this together.
We want SCS to be a community where every student and their family feels, experiences, and knows that they belong. Wanting that to be true, though, does not make it true for everyone. Belonging is a complicated and complex concept— it’s a spectrum that is a mixture of the emotional, experiential, and practical. No matter where you are on the spectrum of belonging, though, it is true that being a culture of belonging begins with an understanding that we are in this together, that we need each other, and that we each have a role to play.
Belonging begins with one small step.
Even if you don’t feel like you fully belong right now, don’t let that stop you from taking that first, small step. Like many people, I feel incredibly uncomfortable initiating conversations with people I don’t know, especially if the setting is more of a social event (I usually feel like everyone else knows everyone else, and I’m the only one on the outside). It gets much easier for me to start a conversation if I’m participating in an activity alongside someone. So, I tend to look for projects and activities to participate in— not only am I able to help get something done, but I also have the opportunity to meet new people in a way that’s less stressful for me. Sometimes, I’m even able to get past my social anxiety at a meeting or social event and be the one to say hello to someone I don’t know. These may seem like small, insignificant steps, but I’ve found that they are always the beginning of a much more meaningful journey into community and belonging.
Belonging is everyone’s responsibility.
Let’s face it: life in 2018 is busy for everyone. We all have plenty of reasons why we can’t be more involved, why we aren’t the “welcome wagon” type, why we can’t help with this, that, or the other thing. But, if we’re going to be a culture of belonging, it’s up to all of us. In a nutshell, that’s what being a “parent-run” school means: We. Are. All. Responsible. Every one of us has a responsibility to take that first, awkward step. And the next. And the next. Belonging starts with showing up— to the all-community meeting, the work party, the social event, the field trip, the parent club, the athletic competition, the concert… the list goes on and on. While community and belonging call each of us out of our comfortable places, they also call us into the creation of a culture that is a more true experience of the wholeness and fullness of life Christ has invited humanity into. As we build and nurture that culture together here and now, we are also planting and cultivating seeds that will grow in other times and other places, impacting lives far beyond our current reach.
Not sure where to start?
Here are some upcoming opportunities to take your next step of belonging at SCS: