In this week’s blog, we are excited to have our new Upper School Assistant Principal, Michelle Embry, share some of her heart as she reflects on her own calling as a Christian school educator, and what she hopes this will bring to the students of WCCS.
As I look back over the twenty years of Christian school service the Lord has given me, I am confident that every step of the way the Lord has been preparing me for the next call that he has on my life. Most recently, this has brought me to this outstanding school, and I am so excited as I join the Westminster Catawba Christian School community. I have really enjoyed getting to know everyone in these first few weeks of school!
It is such a high honor and a special task to lead and disciple those children and teens the Lord has given to us. It’s also a lot of fun! The fact that educators are placed in a learning environment with our students for such a sustained amount of time each day and over the course of the year, creates a setting in which we can love them well and speak verbal and non-verbal life-affirming messages into their hearts. As Christian educators at WCCS, this is a calling that we do not take lightly!
My desire for the Upper School students at WCCS is that they fully understand that their identity and worth is based on who they are IN CHRIST…that they are beautiful image bearers of God. It isn’t based on academic, athletic, or musical performance. It isn’t based on how well they obey our rules. It isn’t based on the number of extra-curricular activities they involve themselves. I want our students to know they are invaluable to us because they are invaluable to God.
"I want our students to know they are invaluable to us because they are invaluable to God."
It is very easy to make a statement like the one made above; but a much harder thing to truly communicate it to students, because in order for this message to be received, it takes time. Students must hear the message of their value communicated in many ways and through many circumstances - when they do well, when they mess up, when they feel proud of themselves and when they disappoint themselves. The message of their great value must be communicated during exciting times and mundane times. Regardless of the circumstances of their lives, we, as Christian educators of WCCS, must pursue our students in a steady, constant, even relentless manner - so that our pursuit further communicates the message of their great value in Christ.
This call of reaching out and investing into others is placed upon all believers; however, as Christian school educators, we are tasked to do this as a part of our job! It is an absolute thrill and a privilege. Would you pray for us as we use every day classroom opportunities to reach the hearts of your children?
Many folks are surprised to learn how varied our opportunities at WCCS are in the fine arts and athletics!
We created these two promotional videos to highlight some of the activities that are available for WCCS students in these two areas, as we desire to point students to Christ in all we do. Check them out!
Additionally, if you would like to learn how your business can further support the arts and athletics at WCCS, check out the WCCS Corporate Sponsorship Program or contact Jane Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Corporate sponsorship dollars directly support athletics and fine arts. Your financial contribution allows our students to have the resources they need to thrive!
Thank you to all the faculty, staff, students and families who participated in the creation of both videos. Do us a favor, share our videos on your social media pages and comment below something that YOU love about WCCS!
Chaplain, Jake Tassy, shares some great, practical discipleship advice for parents in this week's blog!
There was a time where you could say "What's up Dawg?" and people would immediately know that you were asking “How are you?” Nowadays, I might get the smile or laugh I was looking for (maybe even the “cool guy” head bob), or it might just date me…I don’t know which! Today, I’m gonna talk to you parents about “keeping it real” with your kids, and something I like to call “D.A.W.G –Discipleship As We Go.”
Before I get started, let me remind you of the WCCS theme verse for the year:
13 If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” 2 Corinthians 5:13-15 (NIV)
Christ's love should compel us to parent as best as we can! This verse should penetrate our hearts so deeply as parents that from the overflow, our children begin to understand His grace and love.
Now, let me “keep it real” with you for a minute and remind us of something we all know, but sometimes forget. You have 18 brief years with your kids to disciple and have those faith-forming conversations, and there is no “perfect” moment to have them in this imperfect world.
Opportunities to teach what you feel you need to teach are just flying by! As parents, we each have different and varied stories (long, good grace filled marriage, divorce, separation, single parenting, still grand-parenting, guardianship). Along with those stories, there are so many distractions, flaws, issues, mess, junk, and frustrations that affect us being compelled by Jesus' love as parents. Our children know it. We don't naturally migrate to being real and authentic. Are you starting to feel overwhelmed? Wondering what you can do?
D.A.W.G. = Discipleship As We Go.
Let’s take a lesson from Jesus. He simply walked alongside people (1 John 2:6)! Parents, if you are waiting for the perfect moment to disciple your kids, you are going to miss out on all the real, imperfect moments to authentically pour into the hearts of your kids. Jesus simply asked good questions of his disciples as he guided them through the real life moments, and if we are to live as Jesus lived, then we should do the same. It’s okay to disciple as you go, D.A.W.G! Here are a few practical suggestions I have come up with to get you started:
Take time to just BE with your children: I’m talking side by side and ear to ear! Detox from media, television, and technology and do something hands on with your kids….have a picnic at the park, play basketball, make a fun dessert or a messy craft, go on a walk together, go camping, let them stay up late talking to you. These are where the real conversations happen!
Aim at the heart and not the behavior when disciplining: Our aim as parents should always be to point our kids towards Jesus. Remember, God is much more concerned about your child’s heart than he is their behavior. Teach your child the gospel and let that transform their hearts! They’ll learn to love and obey him.
Teach by example: Your kids will learn much more from what you do than from what you say. Do you ever tell your kids you’re sorry when you mess up as a parent? Are you spending time soaking in God’s Word, sharing what you’ve learned with your kids and letting them see you live it out in a practical way? Are you the type of Christ-follower you want your child to grow up to be? Modeling your own faith walk in front of your kids is powerful stuff.
Create a safe place for your kids to be “real”: Let your kids ask the hard questions without fear of your reaction. Don’t be afraid to remember back to when you were their age and facing the same temptations, fears, and struggles. The things that God taught you out of those times can be of great aid to your children now. Be the first to bring up those “touchy” topics and get the conversation rolling. Talk about Truth in those real life moments when it’s not showing up in the world (an ugly exchange between a referee and a superstar athlete, a trailer for an inappropriate movie, a conflict between two extended family members, the list is endless).
Pray: I’ve saved it for last, but it’s the most important. You can’t change your child’s heart. Only God can do that. Pray that the Holy Spirit would draw them to himself and do a work in their lives. Ask God to help you connect with them.
I think Deuteronomy 6:5-7 sums it up so nicely.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” As a parent, all we can do is simply love God with all our heart and encourage our kids to walk alongside us as we model how they can do the same.
Lower school chapels have started. We just had our first Upper School Chapel last week where I spoke with students about this whole thing about “keeping it real” in their spiritual lives. Chapels are now in the gym on Wednesdays at the Upper School (10:11-10:56am). Come worship with us! Ask your students what they've learned. It's a great time to reset and ruminate on God's truth. I pray it will have an impact on your family and the WCCS community.
Let's be Real, D.A.W.G. (head bob and a wink;-)