Everyone is in first place! This is the beauty of the opening day of the major league baseball season each year. The banners are out and hope springs eternal for the season ahead. Even the fans of the weakest teams are quietly dreaming, “Maybe…just maybe…we can beat the odds and win it all!”
First Day of School
Today is the first day of class at LCS. Teachers and students sense the exhilaration spawned by the opportunity for a new start. On this day the grade book is clean, the detention list is nameless, and all are on their best behavior. Children starting school for the first time enter classrooms with eyes of wonder mixed with mild doses of trepidation. Students returning for yet another year of school stride into class with the unspoken agenda that this year will be better. Parents drop off, wait, and pray for God’s blessing over the whole process.
Start Perfect, and Improve from There
It has been said that a major league baseball umpire is expected to be perfect on his first day and then improve from there! Perceived errors in execution, positioning, or judgment are met with boos from the stands and verbal assaults from players and managers. Some fans believe that since they paid their money, they have the right to express their displeasure in ways that could be prosecuted if practiced outside the ball park! It is not a job for the faint of heart!
Sometimes teachers or students can feel like that’s the standard they are saddled with as well. The fact is, like umpiring, teaching and learning are very demanding activities. Those involved in the process need to work together to overcome the effects of the fall (Genesis 3) that both bring into the mix. No one fails on purpose. All should learn and grow throughout the journey. The gospel should shape the responses of all who are involved. Parties with vested interest (parents) who watch the process from “the stands” try to discern when to intervene and when to allow teachers and students to deal with one another’s errors when they occur. Perfection is elusive for all. The opportunity to critique those “on the field” is almost limitless. Expressions of encouragement can help to mitigate the pressures of the “game” and thus improve performance.
What the Good Ones Know
The good umpire knows the game is not about him and realizes that if he does his job well, most fans won’t notice him. The effective teacher knows that a classroom climate of warmth, encouragement, and high expectations provide the best setting for learning. Balancing the warmth and the high expectations can be a delicate task. No one gets it right every time, in the classroom or on the field. The wise parent expects the best from their student and the teacher but also realizes that shortcomings by either party are likely to occur over a 180 day “season.” In addition, the ups and downs of life over the course of the school year provide additional opportunities for growth. The high expectations are essential; the spirit of encouragement by all involved makes them attainable.
It’s a Long Season!
So we’re off on this 180 day adventure with one another! There will be peaks and valleys along the way. Unexpected joys and unforeseen challenges of all sorts will come our way. In it all, let’s resolve to encourage one another and appreciate the anticipation and mystery of what’s ahead.
“And above all these, put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:14.
Have a great year!
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