Excitement and Hope

by Mary Johnson, Children's Ministry

There are many emotions that come with the beginning of a new school year: excitement, anticipation, curiosity, fear, joy, hope. Whether sending a child off to kindergarten or to college, a parent is entitled to all of the aforementioned sentiments. For me, as a parent having been through school milestones with my children and as a school director where each fall I begin a new year, the elements of excitement and hope are the most positive feelings to embrace.

                           Excite: to call to activity - to rouse an emotional response
 
We've all read about or experienced the No Child Left Behind piece of legislation that was passed in 2001 and signed into law on January 8, 2002. The intention was noble with the result less than optimal. It has become known as the "teach to the test" law that has diminished spontaneity, creativity and enthusiasm in classrooms; the excitement. I would argue that the successful definition of No Child Left Behind is every child racing into the school building because they are so excited to be there. They can't wait to see the adventures that will unfold. I witness it everyday as I look out my office window and see the children running into All Things Bright and Beautiful. Why does that stop? When does that stop? I am fairly certain for a majority of students the excitement does stop. Standing outside a public school as the bell is about to ring you do not see the majority of the students racing through the door with excited anticipation. There are some nationally recognized individuals who are campaigning for reform in education practices that allow for more excitement, more creativity. Sir Ken Robinson is one of the most passionate. He believes that "standardization tends to emphasize the lowest common denominator. Human aspirations reach much higher and if the conditions are right they succeed. Understanding those conditions is the real key to transforming education for all our children."

My hope is that the excitement about school for each child will continue throughout all their school years.

Hope: to desire with expectation of obtainment; to expect with confidence

The expectation of obtainment is a tough one. It will require parents, administrators, and teachers to use every resource, tool, and passion to succeed. It is about meeting the students where they are: physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. To provide a loving and safe environment where each child knows he or she is loved unconditionally and valued for the unique gifts they bring to the community.

It is the hope of the staffs of Holy Comforter and All Things Bright and Beautiful that every student will know the excitement of this community and share without hesitation or reservation in the abundance of God's love.

A very interesting presentation by Sir Ken Robinson, Changing Education Paradigms, can be viewed here... It's worth watching.