This is, on some level, a silly question. One could safely say that the answer is found right in the question itself. Or, as my calculus teacher used to be famous for saying, "the answer is intuitively obvious to the casual observer." (as a side note, this was highly irritating to students like myself struggling through his limits and derivatives.)
Of course, Berks Christian is a school. We have teachers, students, books, and bells. Lessons are presented, homework is assigned, and tests are crammed for. (Well, I am a realist after all.) We learn to read, recite, and reason. We practice multiplication, musical scales, and scripture memorization. We create timelines, compile book reports, and code webpages. But for all of this (and much more), it seems a surface definition of who we are. Webster may be happy but my heart finds it wanting.
I think a better description of Berks Christian is a learning community. The word community speaks to some deeper truths of who we are: an interacting population with a shared history, and unified motivations. We are people who have joint ownership and participation, sharing a like goal and fellowship. In this model, we are not just our roles (teachers, students, parents) but we are participants in a shared community centered around what brings us together - Christian education.
But perhaps best of all, we are a learning family. In this model, we are not just a community circled around a common goal, but we are members of a family centered around a common leader - Jesus Christ. And that's what a family is: a group of individuals with a common ancestry, under one head, and unified by our shared characteristics. We don't necessarily always agree (or get along) but we do share a familial bond. This bond is the love of Christ and the fellowship of the Spirit. From this springs our learning, exploring, growing and discipling.
As many times as I can put put pen to paper (er, that is... fingers to keyboard) I will say it: BCS is all about Jesus, because everything is about Jesus! He is the head of our learning community.
Since we are best described as family, I now have a question to pose to you: Do you treat BCS like a hotel or like a home? Are we on vacation, or are we caring for our living space in the rhythms of daily life?
You know how it goes at a hotel. You've paid for the room and you have certain expectations. But the only expectation for yourself is that you've paid, and you are there to enjoy the experience. You don't bother to make the bed or hang up the towels. Someone else will pick up that wrapper on the floor. If something breaks, just dial the front desk. And your food can be brought to the door while you flip through the channels. Any mess isn't your problem and you might even just make one for the fun of it, because we've got no intention of staying past checkout time.
At home of course, it's a different ballgame. Not only do we clean up after ourselves, but we train our children to do the same. We take careful assessment of our home and prioritize projects to take care of. We'll spend some of our spare time making improvements and upgrades because we know this where we spend most of our time and we want it to be nice. We'll even pull out the fridge every once and a while to clean the dust that has accumulated. (Well, some of us do.) The point is, we value our home - we take care of it. There's a sense of ownership and responsibility.
I think the application of the analogy is fairly intuitive. Being part of BCS is an investment, and not just a financial one. We've got common goals and shared responsibilities. If BCS is truly going to be a family, we must choose to treat BCS like our educational home, not educational hotel.
So Berks Christian School family, I challenge you. Will you treat BCS like your educational home? Will you commit your family to be a fully engaged part of the BCS family? For God's glory, will you take ownership in the school that is yours - the families, the stakeholders? Dig in - pick up some towels off the floor, start on that new deck expansion, patch the hole in the wall, or just help to put the dishes away after dinner. Each of us have a part to play, what's yours?
To make sure that I give credit where it is due, I owe the metaphor of "Hotel and Home" to Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church.
Grace and Peace my friends! (and welcome home!),
New to the reading recommendations this week (see links above)
- Knowledge of the Holy, by Tozer - for everyone!
- Thoughts for Young Men, by J.C. Ryle - for the young men among us (and their fathers!)
- The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis - for everyone!
- Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson - for our teachers and parents