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Educating students to bless our world as disciples of Jesus Christ

How Do We Teach Our Children to Serve?

November 14, 2018
By Nick Turner, WPC Pastor of Families and Children

At WCCS, it is our hope for our students to not only receive an excellent education, but to discover the God-given talents the Lord has given to each one of them, and in discovering those gifts, to use them to impact the world around them. When we connect classroom learning with service outside of the school walls, we give “hands and feet” to the concepts they are learning.

 

Box City
Last year's students participating
in Box City.

Service learning is incorporated into curriculum at both the upper and lower school. Just next week, our 4th graders will participate in our annual Box City project. Like most people, the students are accustomed to eating at restaurants and enjoying traditional Thanksgiving dinners to celebrate the holiday. However, on this day, the fourth graders will each bring in a large box and one blanket as well as a rain poncho or garbage bag in case of bad weather. The box is intended to be the student’s “home” and to give them the experience of celebrating the holidays as a less fortunate or homeless person might. Teachers and their students will discuss what they have learned, pray for the homeless and less fortunate, and write about their thoughts in an essay. On Tuesday, they will travel to a soup kitchen, where they will serve lunch to locals. This is just one great example of service learning at our lower school!

Beta Club
Beta Club students reading to
our Early Childhood students

So far this year, we have had upper school students serving at the Salvation Army, the Children’s Attention Home, the Adult Enrichment Center, and Pilgrim’s Inn. Art students have done numerous service projects this year including completing art pieces for a local adoption agency and first responders as well as serving at a local church fall festival! Our  Beta Club and National Honor Society have several service projects lined up for the remainder of the school year as well.

As parents, we know that you share this desire with us and long for your children to want to be a part of God’s work. It’s never too early or too late to begin cultivating the trait of servanthood in your child.

Nick Turner, Pastor of Families
& Children

For this week’s blog, we have invited Nick Turner, Westminster Presbyterian Church Pastor of Families and Children, to share some practical ways in which you, as parents, might instill a sense of genuine servanthood into the hearts of your children.

“How do we teach our children to serve?” Good question, especially in a world that has us staying so busy.  As a parent myself, I realize this firsthand. However, the impact that your influence has on your children is invaluable.  There is no better way to spend time with your family than to volunteer together and not just during the holiday season, but year-round. Here are a few thoughts…

How Do We Teach Our Children to Serve?

  1. Acknowledge your own struggle. Jesus redefined greatness as serving others in love (Mark 10:35-45). Serving is difficult. Serving with the right motivation even more so. On this side of eternity, our best service is imperfect. We must own our failure to serve, repent, and receive grace from the One who served us.

  2. Model service for your child. While preaching on God’s design for family discipleship in Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Matt Chandler said, “God’s design is so thorough, so good, that you are making disciples. The question is…What are you discipling them in?” Our children will learn to serve by watching us serve.

  3. Keep it Simple. Teaching our children to serve does not require going on a mission trip or creating a fancy service project (though nothing is wrong with both). Simply evaluate where you are currently serving the Lord and bring your child along with you. For example, if you are delivering a meal to someone in your church have your child by your side.

  4. Talk About It. Tell them along the way what you are doing and why you are doing it. Ask questions afterwards like, “How did it feel to serve that person?” or “What other ideas do you have to help others?” or “How do you feel when someone helps you?”

As you talk with your child, remind them that we do not serve Jesus to earn His love. Our service is a response to His love. In love, He laid down His life for us. We serve because He served us. PS – lay down the smartphone…no pictures or video. We are teaching our children that we serve for His glory alone, not for “likes” on an Instagram page.

Looking for ways you and your family might serve others in the Rock Hill community? Check out this comprehensive guide to serving in Rock Hill.

City Tour Guide – Service Opportunities in the Rock Hill Community

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

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How Should Christians Engage in a Divided Political Climate?

October 31, 2018
By Deanne Regier
Deanne Regier
Upper School Social Studies
Teacher, Deanne Regier

As mid-term election day approaches this Tuesday, November 6, we thought we would  have our 12th grade Government/Economics teacher, Deanne Regier, share some of her thoughts as to how Christians should rightly engage in politics in such a divided political climate.

 

For the past nine years, I have had the privilege of teaching the Government-Economics course to the WCCS 12th graders. To say the least, the current divided political climate has re-enforced my belief in treating others with kindness, respect and dignity.  Regardless of what is happening on cable news networks or social media, class discussions and private conversations for Christians should be gracious and God-honoring.  As Jesus states in Luke 6:43b, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (NIV).  Therefore, our conversations, Tweets, posts and demeanor reflect our heart condition.

In an attempt to create a God-honoring classroom environment, I have four foundational beliefs that I implement in my class:

  1. Christians historically have been on the forefront of politics and reform movements in this country.  For example, the Second Great Awakening of the 19th century was a catalyst for the wide variety of movements: abolition, temperance, educational and social.  Because of their love for God, Christians impacted their community for social and political change.  Therefore, we, as Christians, should not disengage in this chaotic and vicious political culture.  Instead, we should be more engaged.  Each quarter, I require students to earn points from a variety of projects that encourage local involvement in politics and discourse.  Students attend city council meetings or volunteer for political campaigns.  We, as Christians, should engage in current events even more during this time of division and controversy as a “light” to a dark world (Luke 5:16).

  2. Dishonoring a person cannot be permitted and must be openly challenged.  So how does this manifest itself in the classroom setting?  First, students are welcome to disagree with policies but cannot crush or disrespect a person.  We actually practice how we should say something.  Students cannot say,  “I hate_____.” But they can say: “ I disagree with ____ policies for the following reasons.”  Second, we should challenge “person-bashing” conversations and encourage the respecting of humans as created in the image of God in conversations and social media.   If we say nothing, we in effect condone the comments.  Finally, we can simply honor our leaders with the correct title.  Simply adding “President” or “Secretary” or “Senator” can show this person respect. Our words have meaning!

  3. Condemning someone based on hearsay or rumors without due process, rule of law or respected journalistic practices cannot be allowed.  Therefore, only approved news sources are allowed to be quoted in class and used in research.  Of course, I encourage students to analyze differing perspectives (i.e. FoxNews and CNN) but encourage thoughtful interpretation of the presentation and content.

  4. Since God is far above our simple understanding of Democrat and Republican Party, God cannot be limited to a certain party.   I start each year by saying, “God is not a Republican.  God is not a Democrat.  He is far above our political chaos.”  As Tim Keller, founder of the Redeemer Presbyterian Church (PCA) in New York City,   wrote, “While believers can register under a party affiliation and be active in politics, they should not identify the Christian church or faith with a political party as the only Christian one.”  (Editorial in New York Times, September 29, 2018)  We are commanded as Christians to love your neighbor and defend the rights of the oppressed.  But how we “love” and “defend” is open to interpretation. 

Government Economics Class
12th Grade Economics/Government Class

As I state in my course syllabus, the primary goal of WCCS’s Economics-Government course is to “develop a passion for civic and economic responsibilities as Christians in an international community.”  Even though I want my students to be passionate about government and economics that isn’t my primary goal as an educator. My prayer for my students is that they see our hope is not in this government, administration, tax policy, healthcare system or any other current hot-topic.  Our hope is in an eternal Heavenly Father who has a purpose and plan for our country and its leadership.  As believers in Jesus Christ, we are citizens of the kingdom of Heaven over which Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords.  We relate to our country as citizens of Christ’s kingdom and direct our actions to please Him. Rest assured -- God is still in charge.

We encourage our families to go out and vote next week in the election! Take your students with you and be sure to have some thoughtful conversation about how we, as Christians, have the opportunity and responsibility to honor our Savior in the political arena and point others towards His grace and hope.

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Facilitating a "Boy Friendly" Environment in the Classroom and at Home

October 25, 2018
By Michelle Embry, Upper School Assistant Principal
Michelle
Upper School Assistant
Principal Michelle Embry

Occasionally, we like to provide resources and articles that might be helpful to you as parents. In this week’s blog, we have asked Michelle Embry, Upper School Assistant Principal, to share some pointers about teaching boys and helping them manage their stress at home and school. We plan to address the special needs of girls in a future blog.

 

In the book, Writing the Playbook:  A Practitioner’s Guide to Creating a Boy-Friendly School, author Kelley King offers many great nuggets regarding how to create positive instructional experiences as well as important ideas about dealing with young men in times of conflict and/or discipline.  As I continued through this book, I realized that many of the ideas that the author presented in an effort of facilitating a “boy-friendly” environment in the classroom, are concepts that could be helpful to parents of young men as well.  Here are a few tips taken from a section on discipline, particularly when the young man’s behavior may have created a stressful situation: 

Ideas dealing with Stress:

  • Don’t ask a boy “What were you thinking?” right after an emotional or stressful incident.  He wasn’t thinking; he was reacting.

  • Allow boys time to cool off after a stressful incident.  A drink of water can reduce stress.

  • When it’s time to talk, go for a walk.  The physical movement lowers stress and increases blood flow to the brain.

  • Talk to boys privately.  Do not lecture or punish them publicly.  It will seriously damage the boys’ trust in you if he is embarrassed in front of his peers.

  • Emotion is dominant over cognition.  Identify and help resolve student stress so attention can return to learning.

MasonAnother category that I found particularly helpful in the classroom that you can also re-enforce at home was a section regarding how to help boys stay organized. Below are some great strategies for helping your boy complete assignments at home:

Ideas dealing with Organization

  • Insist your boy consults his planner while working on homework.

  • Remind him to keep his binder organized according to the structure the teacher has advised.

  • Advise your boy to keep homework in a consistent location where he can easily locate it to turn it in the next day.

  • Follow up with boys; don’t let them slip through the cracks. Follow up to make sure he is turning in assignments and understands the importance of homework. Too many boys are okay with taking a zero.

I have no indication that the author is a believer, yet this person has done loads of research and has used the research to support her belief that young men can thrive in a school setting when educators provide an environment that supports who they are and how they are wired as young men. Also, let me say that although this particular study was aimed at helping boys reach their full potential in the classroom, it doesn’t mean all of this isn’t valuable and conducive for our female learners as well. Interestingly, these findings completely support how the Lord God would have us to relate to all of those in our circle of influence--peers and little ones alike.  It is important to honor the student/child as a person of dignity and worth and be careful to do nothing to strip away his/her dignity.

Enjoyed this blog and looking for more parenting tips? We desire to partner with you as parents. Our Lower School Principal, Sandi Jolly, is continuing to offer Love and Logic training through the month of November. This training provides practical tools for parents in such areas as providing limits, teaching responsibility, consequences, and healthy decision making. It utilizes story-telling, humor, hope and empathy to build the adult-child relationship. Check out the brochures and calendars below for more information!

Parenting the Love and Logic Way Brochure - Calendar

Love and Logic Early Childhood Parenting Made Fun - Calendar

 

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Recent Posts

11/14/18 - By Nick Turner, WPC Pastor of Families and Children
10/31/18 - By Deanne Regier
10/25/18 - By Michelle Embry, Upper School Assistant Principal
10/16/18 - By Kristen Rhyne
10/12/18 - By Katie Tassy
10/1/18 - By Joanna Swofford
9/20/18 - By Michelle Embry
9/12/18 - By Jennifer Polston
9/6/18 - By Chaplain, Jake Tassy
8/31/18 - By Jessica Hicks, Class of 2019

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