School's Out for the Summer (Sniff...)

It's upon us again. My least favorite day of the year. The dreaded last day of school. I HATE it. It makes me surly. The day ends with me in puddle of my own tears. (Yes, Dale, I cry.) I avoid it, pretend it's not going to come this year, but here it is.


About five weeks ago, when the inevitability of not going back to school sank in, I said to Amy, "What's it going to look like when school ends? How will I know? How will I let my students know? And, most importantly, how do I leave that final message that I want them to take to third grade and beyond?"


You see, our school mission statement is "Empowering all students to be lifelong learners" and I want to be sure that I do my part to make that happen. I want them to understand that even though the school year is over, there is a lot more learning to do this summer. The learning that comes from climbing trees, playing with friends, and reading your own books. The learning that comes from exploring the backyard, the bugs in the garden, or your own imagination. The learning that comes from folding laundry, mowing the lawn, and caring for pets. Note that these are not things that happen in a classroom where we "create" learning environments. The real world is a wonderful classroom!


David understood these things as he was writing Psalm chapter 1. He was a young man who had spent his time in a field with sheep, caring for them, protecting them, and leading them to still waters and green pastures. He had watched men and nature, and had learned lessons from both. He had discovered what it was to be a "lifelong learner".


"Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither- whatever they do prospers." (Psalm 1:1-3)


David spells out what God looks for in a "lifelong learner". Someone who stays away from the company of the wicked and mockers, and spends their time delighting in the law of the Lord and meditating on it day and night. It's not just whom I stay away from, but to whom I am drawing close. "Delighting" says that I long to spend time in God's Word, not look at it as a drudgery or obligation. "Meditating" tells me that I'm not just giving it a quick read and passing thought, but asking God how this affects or changes my life. Think of a young man in a field with a herd of sheep for company. He had many hours to ponder what God was saying to him! We should do the same.


And listen to the promises again. "That person is like a tree planted by streams of water". A tree like that will never want for life-giving water. It also says that it will "yield its fruit in season". We have fruit to bear (love, joy, peace, etc.) and we will if we stay rooted to God and His Word.


And here is the promise at the end of the chapter:


"For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous." As we stay close to Him He will watch over us as a shepherd his sheep.


So on this day think of those students whose school days are over for a few months, but their learning remains. And remember that we all must remain lifelong learners of God and His Word. May we delight in His Word!


Doug

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Northwestern United Methodist Church

232 4th Ave. 

Mellette, SD 57461

605.887.3148

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