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I know it seems like we at SPLS keep returning to this theme: We harm our kids by trying to protect them from obstacles, struggle, disappointment, failures and losses. If we present these tough situations in the right way we will help our children immensely in the long run.
There are times when I look back on my childhood and realize that if I share my experiences I will sound like the old folks who claimed they walked to school two miles every day…barefoot….in the snow… and it was uphill both directions.
At the risk of sounding like a caricature, let me share one brief life experience.
I told my parents I wanted to play Little League baseball. I was probably in fifth grade. Other kids, of course had started much earlier, so I would be behind the curve, so to speak. They said OK but I had to do the leg work. Teams were organized around the local elementary schools. However, when I went to the first practice for the school one block from my home I was told there were no open places. If I wanted to play, there was a team needing players at a neighboring school two miles away.
About once a year over my 40+ years leading schools, someone will share the following insight:
“If you believe half of what your child says happens at school, I will only believe half of what he says happens at home.” While I have never been particularly fond of the snarky sentiment, I think it does remind us that kids share things from their perspective. While it may not be intentionally wrong it is seen through very self-focused eyes. That is just natural.
But the end result of taking what a child says as complete and accurate can often produce hurt feelings and misunderstandings or worse.
Several years ago at another school, I had a teacher on staff who was one of the most diligent, prepared, efficient teachers I had ever worked with. Some folks had problems with the teacher’s personality. That could be understood and we worked on building strong relationships.
More than a few years ago, Christian performer Steven Curtis Chapman wrote a song about taking that leap of faith and diving into a trusting relationship with the savior.
Here is the chorus:
I’m diving in, I’m going deep, in over my head I want to be
Caught in the rush, lost in the flow, in over my head I want to go
The river’s deep, the river’s wide, the river’s water is alive
So sink or swim, I’m diving in
Now as parents and educators, we are all about student safety. And as Florida residents we know the dangers of backyard pools, rip currents, sharks, jellyfish, and so on. So the image of children diving in may make us fearful or send us scrambling for water wings and life jackets.
And yet our theme for this first term of the 2019-2020 school year is Dive In. As Mr. Nick Moss shared in chapel this week, once someone has left the diving board there is no turning back. You are All In. Gravity is taking over and there is no turning back.
We are hoping and praying that within the SPLS community, we are ready to Dive In this first term. No just sticking the toe in to test the temperature of reading class or science. No fearful approach to being a friend. No clinging to past non-productive habits like clinging to the side of the pool.
We want to be fully committed and Dive In to academic pursuits, to sports and band and 4H and chess, to building relationships, to leaving bad habits on the riverbank. We want to Dive In to God’s Word and be immersed in the promises and hope found there.
Here’s to diving in, going deep!
In His Children’s Service, Robert C. Boyd
We try to get ready for school in so many ways. In addition to cleaning and ordering and planning and visioning, we also prepare our hearts and minds. As a faculty, we recently considered this passage from Joshua 3:5: “Then Joshua said to the people, ’Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.’ ”
The context was the new leader of God’s people preparing for the crossing of the Jordan River. Like those who had crossed the Red Sea more than a generation before, the people faced a challenging situation. Walk into the midst of the waters holding to the promise that not only would the water be cleared from their path but that a hopeful future awaited on the other side.
Joshua did not advise the donning of wet suits or scuba gear. He did not hand out snorkels or floaties. Preparation took the form of consecrating.
What is that? In the sense here it means devoting yourselves wholly to something. In scripture it more narrowly means full on commitment to the Lord and His work.
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 (ESV)
Have you seen people who are All In when it comes to fishing?
How about the All In fans of the Bucs or the Lightning?
Anyone know someone who is All In when it comes to a hobby, like photography, or scrapbooking, or collecting?
Even kids can be All In when it comes to dinosaurs, or a certain video game, or American Girls dolls.
With that in mind, it should not be very hard to envision what it means for someone at St. Paul Lutheran School to be All In for the 2019-2020 school year.
We might picture a student who is so devoted to his or her studies that fun activities are delayed until work is done and done well. But we also might see a student who cares deeply for classmates and treats them with empathy and respect.
There might be an image in our mind of a teacher who plans lots of extra engaging activities to make lessons much more exciting. Or we might have an image of a teacher who makes sure to find ways to integrate the message of Christian faith and hope into lesson in a very natural way.
Hey, it is one of those deadly sins, right? In fact, a noted theologian says he can attribute just about every sin and shortcoming in our lives to pride. He is probably right when pride dominates and transcends and drives us. It leads to selfishness, to self-protection above all else, to stubborn independence that cares little about the needs of others, and so on.
So I feel a little awkward having to use the word pride to describe my emotions over the last few weeks.
Last November, I was blessed to be able to order a sofa, ottoman, and love seat Mrs. Boyd had been admiring for a long, long time. It was an early Christmas present. The only hitch was that the love seat would not arrive until long after the other two pieces.
Well, it came last month.
When the enormous package arrived we were more than little concerned. The box had several huge rips in the side and looked like it had come out on the wrong end of a knife fight. As a school principal, I have had to return multiple pieces of furniture and equipment that came to us broken or somehow not of top quality. So the condition of the outside was worrisome.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21
“The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to want” Proverbs 21:5
It is time for our school leadership to begin work on the 2019-2020 budget. Our fiscal year runs from July through June so the work begins now. It is often said that your budget reflects your values. Jesus reminded us of that by saying your treasure shows what is in your heart.
At SPLS we try to coordinate with Polk County Schools in terms of days off, etc. But we realize that gets harder as the years go by.
We are publishing the School Calendar for SPLS for 2019-2020. It was approved by the Board of Christian Day School last week.
We have the same major holidays as Polk County:
Thanksgiving (and Storm Make Up)
Dr. Martin Luther King’s Birthday
Major SPLS variations include:
Starting two days earlier on August 8. It is our preference to start with a partial week.
Two and a half days off in September for our LC-MS Florida Georgia District Teacher’s Conference.
A day and a half off in October for Parent-Teacher Conferences.
Easter Monday off. This is an SPLS tradition.
Ending a few days earlier on May 22, before Memorial Day.
Please note: We have chosen to have school on April 10, which is Good Friday. It will be a half day. We feel strongly that the tradition of families going to Good Friday worship services during the day has faded into history. So, in addition to getting a half day of school in, we would end our morning with a special Good Friday worship experience to which families and the community would be invited. Click here to download the 2019-2020 School Calendar
Today almost 500 students will participate in the Lutheran Schools Music Festival here on campus. Hosting this event again has been a huge undertaking for leaders on campus and for volunteers like Mrs. Denise Bates.
And it would be appropriate to ask why we would volunteer for this and put people through such stressful and time consuming work?
For many of you, the “brand” of our school is not terribly meaningful. You may not have enrolled because the word Lutheran is on our logo. In fact, perhaps you had to overcome the fear of the unknown and enroll in spite of knowing little about our denomination and our schools.
But we are part of a system of over 800 elementary schools nationwide. And while we are geographically distant from many of them (lots of Lutheran schools in the Midwest!), we are still connected by our common mission.
And even though there is no top down leadership like our Catholic brothers and sisters experience, we still choose to do things together. And since there is no one to tell schools “You must host this event” we do it voluntarily.
We do it to give opportunities to our students and to students from as far away as Peachtree City, GA and Boca Raton, FL. We love being part of this system of Christ-centered, Biblically-based, church operated schools and want to see our school and all Lutheran schools flourish. We want the choice of our unique schools to be available to as many children and families as possible. And so we proudly and excitedly serve the schools of the Florida-Georgia District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
In His Children’s Service, Robert C. Boyd