Friday, April 19, 2013

Celebrating Growth toward God

Fresh green leaves unfurling in the spring sun: this blog celebrates growth of all kinds--my own and my students--knowledge, skills, and understanding--even seeing failure--both my own and my students--as the discovery of one way NOT to do it. 

Today, I’m celebrating growth of faith. I can’t teach love of God any more than I can teach love of reading or love of writing. But I can create an environment which is favorable to the alchemy of any of the above happening: providing the knowledge, skills, understandings, modeling and challenges that I can, then stepping back to see what happens. 

Here’s what I saw this week:
  • One student had written at the beginning of the school year, "I am atheist and don't want people to make me become Christian." Now he writes, "Sometimes I feel like God is telling me that I belong to him….When unbelievable things happen, things that I was sure it wouldn't happen, I feel like God is telling me that He exists."
  • Another student wrote at the beginning of the school year, "I am still not ready to accept God completely. As I go to CAJ, I think it would be a great opportunity for me to get closer to God and become a faithful Christian. But I will try to get to know about God." This student now writes, "Although it has only been few weeks accepting Jesus Christ in my life, I still feel that I am in his protection."
  • A third student writes, "Although CAJ taught Bible, I belittled them in my heart saying that they are losers who want to justify their weakness….However...I realized that my perspective was quite biased. I thought only my perspective was true and others are 100% wrong….I decided to learn about them. Then I was able to logically explain God's existence. Now knowing that there is God, 'I call on you, my God, for you will answer me' (Psalm 17.6)."

How did we get here in English class? Reading the play A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen gives us the essential question “Who Am I?” When main character realizes that she has always conformed to a patronizing society’s expectations, and has no idea herself who she really is or what she thinks, she feels her only option is to leave her family to find out. Sophomores don’t want to end up in that situation, so what better time to begin to explore the question? They learn about Myers-Briggs temperament types, read and discuss the article “The Values Americans Live By” by L. Robert Kohls, and study the supporting passages for a couple of biblical principles about human worth and purpose. Then they set out to answer the following question: “Who am I spiritually, temperamentally, and culturally, and why is this an important question to ask and to answer?”

My revising comments are all on the papers, ready to be handed back Monday for further work with organization, transition, support, work choice, integration of quotations, and all that important stuff.

And my prayers have also been revised with new knowledge of who my students are, who they want to become, and an intensified longing for the presence of God with them on their way to becoming it.

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