Wouldn't it be fantastic if all we needed in life in order to succeed was the right information? Wouldn't life be great if all that was necessary for a trouble free existence was an instruction manual that we could skim through and then our journey down life's highway has no traffic ahead and blue skies above?
Of course this is a ridiculous premise. Information on how to live life successfully is essential, but success in life requires much more than just the right information.
Modern education seems to operate much like the aforementioned scenario -- if students are provided with the correct information and if they are able to reproduce that information, then they are prepared for successful careers and lives, right?
Truly effective education, however, requires much more than disseminating the correct information. Here at West Side Christian School, we believe that an effective education that prepares the whole child for life must address the heart, hands, and feet.
That is why for the past 130 years, education at WSCS has been rooted in Christ and the truth of His Word. Jesus, the Master Teacher, alluded to that necessity when He issued the Great Commission to "make disciples" (Mt. 28:19).
Our tagline, "Beyond Belief," acknowledges that a truly effective education must incorporate faith and correct information.
But it must also go beyond that launching point to an intentional application of the right information (Word of God), to the heart (character formation), the hands (meaningful action and service), and the feet (preparation for the future beyond West Side).
As principal here, I am privileged to see this disciple-making process occur time and again. Let me give you just a tiny glimpse of how I see this each and every day in the halls of this school...
Our middle school staff meets together -- but not just to plan and coordinate lessons. This remarkably gifted group of educators meets separately, each month, just to discuss their students, their lives and situations, and how they as a staff can love them as Jesus loves.
Our custodian, Reuben VanTil, and his right-hand man Pierce travel the halls of the school together, with Pierce helping Mr. VanTil tackle all kinds of projects around the building. These hands and feet traveling together. Custodian of halls and hearts.
And speaking of friends -- I observe student interactions every day. Recently I overheard an exchange between a group of elementary students where a young girl was sharing with a small group of friends a worry on her heart. Spontaneously and genuinely, a friend quickly remarked, "You need to pray about this!"
Their parents, pastors, teachers point them to Jesus. Kids pointing kids to Jesus. It happens here at West Side Christian School every day.
Heart, hands, feet.