Sunday, June 8, 2008

Teaching Our Children Well

The old saying goes that "children live what they learn and they learn best what they experience." Indeed, if you think about it, life's most important lessons are best learned experientially. There are just some things you can't learn through classroom theory. You simply have to get out and get your hands dirty. This fact occurred to me again this afternoon as I watched our middle school students pull out of our church parking lot today to head off to Mission Arlington for their summer mission trip. They will spend the week helping those in the greater Arlington area who are in need. They'll be doing everything from helping serve meals, picking up donated food, clothing and furniture items, to general maintenance work. They will also be putting on two VBS sessions each afternoon for children living in low-income apartment complexes. Some of them will experience things this week they've never experienced before. Some have seldom, if ever, been outside the very sheltered world of Granbury, Texas, and many have never experienced being around abject poverty and all that goes with it. The lessons they will learn this week will stay with them for the balance of their lives and it will impact them in ways that will change how they see the world. My 19 year old daughter went to Mission Arlington in her 7th grade year and it had a lasting impact on her. She has turned out to be one of the most loving, caring, compassionate and empathetic young adults I know of, and I credit much of that to what she experienced at Mission Arlinton on her first mission trip. Even as a 7th grader, it was easy to tell that that mission trip changed her. As a parent, when you ask your teenager how a youth activity went, you're generally lucky if you get much more than, "fine" or "it was okay." The night Courtney came home from Mission Arlington, she started downloading everything and she didn't stop for several weeks. Every time she had the opportunity, she was telling someone about the different children she had encountered during that week. I have no doubt that this years group of middle school students will come back changed as well. My prayer for them this week, along with the obvious prayer that God will minister His love through them to all the children He brings into their path this week, is that God will change their own hearts...that their hearts will be broken for others and filled to overflowing with God's unconditional love. Please join with me in praying for our students and the wonderful adults who have taken time away from their busy schedules to serve with them this week.

1 comment:

bryan said...

Sounds like a great trip. And you're 100% right, it's one thing to talk about helping people, but nothing replaces actually going out and doing it.