Raising children is the hardest job that you’ll ever love. I think someone once said that to me, but I now freely use that adage as if it was my own. As parents, we wade through murky waters, wishing we had an instructional manual or at least a guidebook. We gain Biblical principals from God’s Word, we read Dare to Discipline or The Strong Willed Child or The Tech-Wise Family (or hundreds of other titles), but sometimes in the moment, we just want someone to tell us what to do!
Committing to Christian education is the best way to gain partners in your parenting journey. Together, we help children gain confidence. Together, we empower children to be self-motivated, self-advocates, wise decision makers. Together we are part of the process whereby students become independent and confident learners who are growing in the faith.
What is our goal as parents? What is our goal as teachers? To get to the point where “our” children can say, “I don’t need you to help me, I can do it.” As C.S. Lewis once wrote, “We teach them in order that they may soon not need our teaching.” Yikes. Did I just say that? God wants us to train up our children so they can be independent of us? Yes, together we are in the business of raising up responsible Christians, empowering them with a CAN DO mindset, and allowing them to think critically for themselves. Know that your children are covered in our prayers as we partner in the great endeavor to raise up the next generation for Kingdom purposes.
One of the GREAT things about San Jose Christian School is that all of our teachers are committed to living out those three words. On our day and a half Staff Retreat, we shared our love for God as we worshipped together and prayed together. We began our retreat time in reflection of God’s goodness, focusing on how we can pray with and for each other, for our students, and for you, our families. Keeping Christ at the center of what we do is key to the flourishing of our school.
Our learning focused on showing respect and empathy for others along with putting to use principles that our summer reading book, Mindset by Carol Dweck, challenged us to put to use. Learning is a process that teachers see in action each day, and we are in the business of seeing our students thrive. We are committed to that, and that is why learning new and exciting ways to instruct and integrate our faith are critical to our growth as Christian educators. (You may have seen that we also had a great opportunity to grow in community in fun ways, too.)
As we finished out time together on Friday afternoon, we spent time thinking about the students and families that we serve. We are so grateful for you and your commitment to SJCS. God has put us in a tremendous community where we care about each other in deep ways. May God continue to use this place to transform culture for Jesus Christ.
As school wrapped up last year and the SJCS staff saw summer break on the horizon, Mrs. Thompson looked ahead to this school year. She decided to give each staff member a copy of Mindset by Carol Dweck with an invitation to read the book over the summer. Mrs. Thompson had read the book before, and knew it would affect teachers in personal and professional ways. “I want our teachers and students to focus on the can rather than the can’t. Rather that saying ‘I don’t know it’, we can say ‘I don’t know it YET.’”
Mrs. Thompson’s hopes that teachers would be on the same page about approaching setbacks and difculties are already bearing fruit. Miss Veurink commented that “Reading Mindset helped me identify my own mindset. And it has changed the verbiage I use with my students. Our “superpower word” for the year is YET. We use a ladder in my classroom to help us identify our mindset.” JK Teacher Suzie Van Ewyk shared, “When I read the book I realized that I live some areas of my life with a fixed mindset, and others with a growth mindset. I looked at the areas I approach with a growth mindset and started applying a growth mindset to other areas of my life.” Second Grade teacher Lynn Hossink discovered both personal and professional applications. “Growing up I was quiet and shy and thought success was other people validating me. Now I see that I need to challenge myself to learn and grow, and see areas that need growth as a good thing.” Dweck wrote that ‘Our best gift as educators and parents is to teach our children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy efort, seek new strategies, and keep on learning.’ It made me think about my classroom culture. When I am disciplining students, what message do I want to send: ‘I will judge and punish you?’ Or, ‘I want to help you think and learn.’
The middle school teachers decided to start our year with a middle school mixer around the topic of mindset. You can check it out on Mrs. Baham’s blog. We already see the impact of Mrs. Thompson’s leadership on growth mindset, and we look forward to the future impact this will have as we live this year together.