|Title||47.3 Choosing the Right School for Your Child|
|Author/s||Dan Egeler, Michael W. Allen|
|Preview||If you are a parent of children in primary or secondary school, I truly believe that the two keys to choosing the right school for your child rest in both the mission of the school and the people you connect with.|
We have all dealt with a sense of dissatisfaction at one time or another. True contentment is almost impossible to achieve in this life: there is always something that "might have been better." Finding the right school for our children is, therefore, a difficult task. I've invited Michael W. Allen, head of Evansville Christian School, to address that topic here. —Dan Egeler
Toy shopping with your children: fun, right? Wrong? I can onlyimagine how many of you are torn between wanting to say it's funand acknowledging that the feast of possibilities for your kiddos canturn the experience into one giant exercise in averting meltdowns.Take my boys, for example. For our trip to the toy store, Isaac(7) and Ezra (5) each had $20 and shelves upon shelves of toys tobrowse. They spent a long while trying to figure out how to getaway with the greatest loot, and when they finally chose, they had ahard time being fully satisfied with what they bought because theywere thinking about all the things they couldn't buy.
I don't think we ever really grow out of that. People job-jump, house-jump, spouse-jump, school-jump. We fill our houses with junk, hold a garage sale, and then use the money to fill the house up again. We're always looking for new things to connect us to our present, hoping they will last into the future. But they rarely do—before long, we're looking for the next new thing. Why? Because people fail to truly connect with the two things that Jesus connected with: mission and people.
Take a moment and think about these two words: mission and people. Let's break them down.
A strongly felt aim, ambition, or calling.
The mission of a school matters, but only if it drives the school in a meaningful way. Imagine a hotel that claims to have amazing customer service—only you find that the concierge ignores you and expects a tip for every piece of information he provides! Their customer service 'mission' might as well not exist.
On the other hand, I recently visited a STEM school in Chattanooga whose mission emphasizes innovation, critical thinking, and collaboration. It took me less than four hours in that atmosphereto be convinced that their mission affected everything, from the day-to-day lives of students to general school policy.
But mission is only part of the puzzle.
Human beings in general or considered collectively.
People can very easily be confused with person. It is easy to befrustrated with a person. But when you can see the forest instead ofthe trees, you should find that those people enhance the mission theschool is promoting.
Finding Your School
If you are a parent of children in primary or secondary school, I truly believe that the two keys to choosing the right school for your child restin both the mission of the school and the people you connect with.
I've been living in Indiana for over five years now, and I've been at the same church the entire time. An acquaintance of mine recently e-mailed me to ask, "What are some reasons that keep your family at your church?" I responded:
For the Allens, we commit to [our church] because of the mission and the people. Any mission can be loved on paper, but we see it in action. The people couldn't have been known until we got involved. And once we did, we just found more people who believed in the mission of reaching people far from God in order to help them experience Jesus. We see it as the way Jesus operated in his time on earth as well—mission and people. Once those two things were clear for us, it was no question that [this church] would be our church home.
If you can say, without a doubt, that you see a mission you careabout being lived by the people of the school, you've found your school. Being connected to the mission and the people makes for a full experience, one that allows you to know and be known by others. It makes the celebrations more personal. It helps frame the frustrations with a more healthy perspective. But most of all, it is purposeful. Education and experience are active choices, not passive. So educate yourself! Tour schools. Talk to the people. Ask the tough questions. And then move forward with confidence that the mission and the people will carry everything forward.
Michael W. Allen
Head of Evansville Christian School
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