In Loco Parentis
Many years ago, when my wife and I were young new parents, we read a book by Ted Tripp called Shepherding Your Child’s Heart. (This is an excellent book, and I would highly recommend it.) The premise of the book is that Christian parents should not just focus on external behaviors although that is important. More importantly, however, Christian parents should focus on the internal heart attitudes in their children. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” Engaging our children’s hearts means reaching them with the gospel.
We as Christian school educators have the responsibility of doing the same thing while children are in our care. At San Jose Christian School we take that responsibility seriously. Our goal is not just a change in outward behavior, but a change of heart. We strive to reach each student with the truth of the gospel. It is much easier, of course, to deal with outward behavior because that is usually cut and dried; however, more often than not, outward behavior is an expression of the overflow of the heart. Luke 6:45 reminds us that “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” A permanent change in behavior comes from a change in the heart; therefore, we want to remove the “evil treasure” and replace it with “good treasure.” Reaching the heart of a child is harder and takes time, but this is the most important work of parents and educators.
How do we as parents and educators “shepherd” a child’s heart? Much like a shepherd who uses his staff to pull a wandering sheep back into the fold and away from danger, we must use the truth of the Bible to point out the sin in the child’s life and lovingly point them in the direction of the truth of the grace and mercy offered us by our heavenly Father. We must also be vigilant concerning the primary shaping influences in a child’s life which are the home, church and school. And, of course, we should pray for the Holy Spirit to work in our children’s hearts and for them to grow in their relationship with God.
Thank you, SJCS families, for letting us stand in loco parentis while your children are in our care. We do not take our responsibility lightly. SJCS has a long history of “shepherding” children, and our primary goal is to continue that tradition and for all of our students to grow in their relationship with the Savior.