Tips for Christmas Break

Here are a few quick ideas for good things to do for your child’s education over the Christmas break:

Read, read, read – get some fun books and read.  There are so many benefits no matter the age of your child.  I will mention just one.  It can heal the brain from all of the impact of time spent on electronic devices.  Reading analog books with no interruptions, including multi-tasking on smart phones, can restore health to the brain.

Build something – do a fun project together that involves physical activity and the brain.  Get some Legos, scrap wood, or other material and work alongside your child.  For older kids, tackle a charity project that involves some planning and physical involvement.

Play – so much is learned from playing.  Curiosity and exploration are so vital to a young person’s education.  Tap into that.  You will gain so much more than the education component.  You will be surprised what you learn about your child when you are playing alongside them.

I pray that God will bless and keep you.  He is able to do exceedingly more than you can ask or think.  Ask Him!

Reflections on Christmas at MCA

The group Avalon sings a song titled We Are the Reason which reminds us that we have a God who so loved us that he sent His Son to pay the ultimate price for our sin.  Stop.  Ponder that anew.  A God so mighty, so incredibly beyond our comprehension in holiness, beauty and power that the likes of Isaiah fell to the ground when they got a glimpse of Him, sacrificed His one and only Son to free us from our sin.  To grasp the enormity of that we have to fathom the magnitude of the gap that existed between God and us before Jesus bridged that gap.  Any attempt to describe that gap fails before we start because we cannot truly grasp His holiness.

But…Jesus did bridge that gap.  We were wonderfully reminded of that at our Elementary Christmas program on Tuesday night (Thank you Mrs. Mills, students and teachers!).  What joy we should experience based on this knowledge!  Oh the gratefulness we should have that we are allowed to communicate The Message so freely and creatively as those kids did that night.

As I consider the joys and struggles of this first semester, I feel the pain and sorrow for where people hurt each other, where I or the school did not meet expectations, and just where sin distracted us from all that God would have us be.  I am also filled with joy as I think of the growth in Christ that so many in the MCA family experienced due to God leading us through the love and encouragement of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the MCA family.  The pinnacle of that joy had to be when a 4th grader gave his life to Jesus.  Heaven rejoiced greatly.  Should we do any less?

It brings a smile to my face to recall so many scenes in my mind of smiling faces indicating kids and parents enjoying success in life and school:  exuberant Cross Country girls and boys when they celebrated a major goal of taking State titles, slapping hands with students after successfully passing a tough test or assignment, seeing the satisfaction of a young man as he realized that maturity was a good thing for him and others, the delighted parents relating their stories of their students exceeding expectations, and boisterous young athletes finding the joy in each other as they prepared for another test of their abilities and efforts at games and matches.

So thank you students, parents, teachers, staff members, leaders, and Board for allowing God to work through you this semester to further His work at MCA.  May God receive all the glory!  May this Christmas season be filled with time reflecting on the magnitude of God’s gift to us.

Student Leadership Institute (SLi)

I introduced this program last year at the Soaring Upward event in March.  The survey that we sent out in October indicated that people would like to know more about this program.  My intent with this post is to spread the good news of the impact of this program in its inaugural year.

Let me provide a bit of background first.  Since this was the inaugural year, I decided to only offer it to those that were in leadership positions: class officers, STUCO officers and National Honor Society members.  Those students applied and attended an orientation before school started.

Mr. Wagner, our Bible Department Chair, spoke at the orientation to remind students that leadership as found in the Bible and modeled by Jesus and Paul, emphasizes servant-leadership.  In fact, I Corinthians 4 uses imagery that says we should be third-tier under rowers in a Roman galley ship.  There were many lessons shared here including that leadership is not about prestige and selfish ambition, but rather it is about helping others succeed by providing guidance and support.

This semester we have been blessed to have several guest speakers share wisdom from their experience as leaders.

  • Dave McCalley – CEO of Denovo Digital taught the kids about wisdom in life and business.  He then led the participants through an exercise of establishing priorities in leadership.
  • John Huber – Associate Pastor at Westside Family church led the participants to take their leadership priorities and convert them into action plans.
  • Dan Panetti – Worldview Director at Prestonwood Christian Academy helped the participants see the value in critical thinking.
  • Business Symposium Presenters
    • Susan Crowder – Owner of Companion Animal Dentistry shared business ethics in the real world
    • Stan Hoehn – Owner and surgeon at Bariatric Center, LLC., shared insight into the character and determination needed to succeed in the business world
    • Eric Kesselring – Senior VP at Axcet HR Solutions helped the kids understand the diversity of people in the work place.
    • Eric Nelson – Owner of Family Tree Nursery shared the truth about hard work and demonstrating godly character in whatever field God directs you.

In addition to this training, I have also led the participants through sessions on…

  • Conducting a team meeting
  • Managing projects
  • Decision making

Finally, the participants have been divided into two teams with projects that will have impact on the State of the School presentation on January 26th.  One team will lead the social media effort and the other will engage the students.

There have been challenges in making all of this work in the school day, but I do believe these participants have been given access to perspective and information that is very expensive to obtain once you are in the work place.  We will continue to evaluate and adjust, but I do believe the program has been and will continue to be an effective tool in preparing students for life.  We will evaluate at the end of the year as to how this program will continue into the future.