Even though many years have elapsed since my kids walked the halls of Lakeland Christian (on a campus that looked quite different then!), rich benefits of their time at LCS continue to bless their lives. To best report on these benefits and blessings, I suppose I should have asked my grown children to “guest post” today’s blog, so you could hear directly from the beneficiaries of an LCS education.
However, you’ll just have to suffice with my reflections of how I see the LCS experience continuing to impact the lives of three twenty-somethings who were each a part of Lakeland Christian from Kindergarten through graduation.
- They were well prepared for college. This is normally one of the first statements offered by LCS alums. My children would concur. Judy Oncu’s writing assignments are legendary, and this English teacher certainly knows how to give students a thorough prep for higher education. Yet, information and understanding acquired in this and other subjects continue to be of value as my children navigate their careers, marriage and parenthood. Strong academics provided a solid foundation.
- They learned to Think Christianly. This is the true distinctive of LCS, and if they learned nothing else, they certainly learned the importance and value of processing all of life through the filter of the Scriptures. Gospel-centered, Biblical teaching – and its life-changing, on-going impact -- was at the very core of their educational experience. LCS helped calibrate their spiritual compass. As we say today – sharpening minds and shepherding hearts.
- Even today, my children enjoy positive relationships with teachers and Administrators who continue to invest in their lives. I’m not sure this happens in every school, but this commitment to caring, effectual mentoring is a hallmark of Lakeland Christian. Professional, Christian educators pour themselves into the lives of children and young people, and, more often than not, maintain a valuable connection with their now-adult former students.
- My kids continue to reap the multiple benefits of a well-rounded school experience. In addition to their academic coursework, they each participated in multiple sports, yet clearly gained some culture by exposure to the arts. These important opportunities seemed to help “fill them out” by showing them strengths and weaknesses in their own gift package. LCS athletics also helped them learn to win with humility and grace and lose with perspective. Well…most of the time.
- There are many other great benefits that could be listed, but I think I’ll spend the rest of this post pointing out the on-going value of community – maintaining close friendships with classmates (amazing considering that, in some instances, these relationships were formed way back in the LCS Kindergarten classrooms!).
Personally, I am thrilled that my kids maintain and even seek out relationships with friends from LCS. This connection has provided encouragement, common ground, needed assistance at times, and just plain ole companionship.
For instance, just this past weekend we traveled up to “Chiberia,” that frozen city on the shores of Lake Michigan, to help our youngest son move to Nashville. Hey, given the weather in Chicago, the smile returned to my face the minute that truck was pointed south! Even before the move, Jeremy was texting an LCS friend, a former football teammate, so they could re-connect upon his arrival. And while in Chicago, Jeremy’s best friend there was an LCS alum. There they were, two former Viking basketball teammates, now attending Bulls games together!
Most recently, Jeremy was a groomsman in a friend’s wedding, here in Lakeland. The first time they met was when his friend had just moved here from Michigan, and was on the LCS campus to shadow a student. Because of their common interests, Jeremy was selected to show this new student the ropes. A deep friendship immediately developed and continues today.
My daughter has recently lived in Miami and in Manhattan. Surely you’re not surprised to learn that her roommate in Miami was none less than an LCS alum, who had been living and working in that city for a long time. She really helped Mary Beth navigate this place that was so new to her. And even as she moved up to New York, one of her first connections was with a former classmate from way back in elementary school. There is still that thread of common ground!
And, quite naturally, my oldest son, living in Lakeland, is surrounded by LCS friends. As Daniel was playing high school soccer, I’m sure it wasn’t even a thought that some of these teammates would be in his church community group, and among his closest friends, twelve years later. Or, that he would work along side a classmate.
Now, LCS is not unique with this phenomenon. It certainly isn’t unusual for classmates from any school to re-connect or to maintain relationships through the years. It happens everywhere. However, it’s this on-going, lasting friendship with people who were taught the same deep truths of life that makes this a little more special. When the Gospel becomes involved as the common thread, the relationships take on a little deeper meaning. That’s what makes it distinctive and adds so much value – this common ground in the Scriptures.
Oh, and a huge side benefit of this community thing…the parents of these LCS alums become our lifelong friends, too!
Mr. Steve Wilson is the Director of Advancement at Lakeland Christian School. To reach Steve, you may email him at Swilson@lcsonline.org.