|Church as Teacher
Anyone who knows me well knows that one of my highest priorities, as a parent, has been providing my children with a good education. My parents instilled in me the importance of education and being a lifetime learner, which I in turn have passed on to my children.
This month as we have been celebrating our oldest daughter's graduation from college and our youngest daughter's completion of an associate’s degree and acceptance into her desired four year school, I have spent a good deal of time thinking about my girls' educations.
I am deeply grateful for the academic experiences that they have had thus far. These experiences have helped them develop discipline, commitment, intellectual curiosity, and a deep love for learning. Yet, I am also mindful and deeply grateful that much of what they have learned and developed as essential life skills and core values came first from being a part of the Church.
This struck me as I went back and read both of their college essays. Within their essays, they spoke of the ways the church had formed them. I was in awe as I was reminded of the powerful education our children and youth can and will receive if they are a part of a church. Certainly, Sunday School and Confirmation may be a part of it, but I am referring more to the life lessons and belief systems that will emerge when children and youth are active members of the body of Christ.
Here are some of the things my girls learned by being a part of church.
In the church…
In the church, they learned about diversity, acceptance, inclusion, and unconditional love. They came to know people of different races, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. They came to know people who were shy, awkward, and socially backward. They learned all were beloved children of God, beautiful, and worthy of love.
I am deeply grateful for what my girls have learned in the church and what they will continue to learn in the years to come. I pray that we, as a collective voice, will remind parents, grandparents and families what our children and youth can learn when they are a part of the church. The education they can receive in the church is invaluable and worth the investment.
Blessings, Rev. Shana Johnson, Conference Minister