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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Gospel Femininity

The message of the gospel is that I'm accepted in Christ. It is, as one pastor put it, "free righteousness."  Which is what people never achieve on their own.  I don't have to work or strive or try to earn anything.  I accept that Jesus has borne the wrath of God for me, and I humbly come on His merit to be an heir to the grace of life.  The riches of heaven become mine because Jesus took my place and gave me His.  The gospel is a beautiful thing. And it's crazy!  God gives His Son to die in my place so I can live and then the Son lavishes me with the spoils of war that He rightfully won for Himself?  Yes.  Wow.

Gospel centered femininity is the same.  It's a realization of who a woman already is.  As such, women don't have to strive for a deeper femininity.  The closer I grow in my walk with Christ, the more His glory will be seen in me.  But I don't have to try to find ways to manipulate myself into being more feminine.
My goal is Christ. And femininity is a natural expression of Christ in me.

What is the definition of feminine?
Lace, bows, and makeup?
Ballet lessons and pink tutus?
Soprano voices and cute outfits?
No.

Femininity is a godly response to masculinity.
It is strong.  It is beautiful.  It is secure.
It believes God and trusts in Him reflecting the Truth of the gospel.
This quiet and gentle spirit that Paul addresses is one of absolute trust in God.
Not the essence of a mindless, opinionless little girl flouncing around wearing pink.
But the warrior-like strength of a woman of God who stands in humility and submission to manhood, but in the confidence of the gospel.  Courageous.  Diligent.  Womanly.  Compassionate.  Kind.  Tender.  Vulnerable.  Beautiful.  
Outside of Christ, I can be none of these.  But in Him, I am daily being molded more and more into this Image.  Through the Word and the Spirit.
Because He loved me and gave Himself for me. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Lyme Basics

Being back at Northland for my final semester (!!!!) has been an objective blessing.  Already, people have been asking me about my experience with Lyme disease, which was the cause for my having to leave mid semester in the fall of 2011.  I'm not an expert.  At all.  So don't use this post as your self diagnosis or your authoritative source for all things Lyme.  But there are some things that I learned that might help somebody and at least answer the most frequent questions that I get.

What is Lyme?

Lyme is a vicious, spiral-shaped bacteria that affects the body by systematically taking over the organs of the body.

How do you get Lyme?

Most people get Lyme from a tick bite.  However, it can also be spread from person to person through the blood.  (That means mothers can be carriers and pass it to their children and spouses can pass it to each other.)

Why did it take so long to find?

My case took about 10 years to find.  Other cases are caught much sooner.  But because of the nature of the bacteria, the illness is difficult to diagnose.  For example, many associate the bullseye rash with Lyme contracted from a tick bite.  But only a small percentage of Lyme cases present a bullseye rash.  A lot of people are misdiagnosed because the spiral bacteria burrows into the organs and masquerades as other sicknesses causing arthritis-like symptoms in early phases and eventually bringing about apparent evidence of Alzheimer's.  Another cause for the constant misdiagnoses is the current blood test used by doctors.  It is only about 30% accurate because while Lyme does go into the blood stream, it also buries itself in the organs and only comes out in the blood to reproduce every four weeks or so.

What are the symptoms?

Because Lyme attacks the body in stages and affects so many different internal structures, the symptoms are varied and sometimes tricky to pin down.  But a brief list includes the following...
Early phase symptoms include joint pain, skin rashes, body aches, fever, sweating, fatigue, muscle pain, and neck pain. If allowed to thrive, the disease will progress to cause splitting headaches, digestive problems, heart palpitations, thyroid issues, and weakness in the limbs along with other problem.  The most advanced stage of Lyme deals with the neurological system.  In this phase, sufferers struggle with nerve pain, numbness, tingling, twitching, paralysis, stuttering, inability to think clearly, and memory loss.  Additionally, Lyme so deeply compromises the immune system that many other viruses enter the body while the sufferer continues to weaken.  Mono is one of the most common of these lyme associates, as well as babesia (which causes a host of interesting symptoms like lack of coordination and shortness of breath), bartonella (which has similar symptoms to babesia) and FSME (which causes swelling on the brain among other issues).


Isn't Lyme a disease you'll have forever once you get it?

That's true for a lot of people.  But it doesn't have to be.  That leads me to my next question.

How did I get better?

The Lord has been very gracious in allowing me to be in touch with the right people at the right time.  I am Lyme free!  And I have been since July of 2012.  While a lot of methods are being attempted to cure Lyme, most of them are ineffective because they fail to recognize the unique nature of the disease and treat it accordingly.  The method I used has been recognized in Europe for decades and as I understand it, it is the primary method used in many other countries.  It is very difficult to kill Lyme, so this approach drags it out of the system and flushes it from the body while rebuilding the person's constitution so the body can fight for itself.  While natural remedies are used to detox the body, an anti-inflammatory diet is used to strengthen the immune system.  Anti-inflammatory diets vary from person to person, but the general principles for the Lyme sufferer include complete avoidance of gluten, dairy, and sugar since these things actually sustain the bacteria through the creation of a physical environment appropriate to the microbe. Sugar is the most dangerous of the three and can also be the most difficult to cut out of the typical American diet, but most Lyme patients notice an improvement in their symptoms after a few weeks on the diet.  On this system, it takes months up to a year to get better (about 8 or 9 months for me), but the results are worth the discipline it takes to regain health.


Submission and Stiff Necks

"The Christian life is very simple...it's just submission."

Simple, yes.
Easy?  Absolutely not.

But God is so merciful!

The other day I was reading in Psalm 106.  This section of Psalms praises God for the historical covenant keeping acts to Israel.  For example, the Exodus and the ousting of the Canaanites to make way for the Hebrews to live in the Promised Land are recorded in poetic summary.  I love how the Psalmist does this.  He tells the story and adds commentary to help the reader see what was going on below the surface.
One passage in particular struck me as a stunning example of the mercy of God.
Begin with the picture of the Israelites standing on the shore of the Red Sea watching the waters cover the Egyptians.  Think of all the people have gone through.  Centuries of oppression and slavery and crying out to God culminate at last with the coming of Moses and the awesome works of God.  Now, they see God's ultimate victory, exactly what they prayed for came to pass before their very eyes.  The army of Pharaoh is deluged at the bottom of the sea.
vs11-12: "The waters covered their enemies; There was not one of them left.  Then they believed His words; They sang His praise."  
And rightly so!  They sang His praise because they had reason to!  He had proven Himself to be the only God!  The God of gods more powerful than the false idols of the Egyptians.  Did they believe Him for long?  Did they sing His praises until they danced across the Jordan into the Promised Land?
Verses 13-15 reveal their incredible capacity for faithlessness and God's incredible mercy when the freedom high wore off.
"They soon forgot His works; They did not wait for His counsel, But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, And tested god in the desert.  And He gave them their request, But sent leanness into their soul."  \

What a merciful God!  He is not the cosmic Santa Clause.  When He gave them what they asked for, He took away what they truly wanted.  That act of protection, "sending leanness into their soul," leads them back to God.  "Israel, you can't find what you're looking for anywhere else.  What your looking for can only be found in your God.  But you have to 'wait for His counsel'." It is mercy that He gives and mercy that He takes away.  Mercy that He allowed them to have what they thought they wanted so that they would eventually come to know what they truly needed.  

The rest of the Psalm details their rebellion against Moses, the creation of the golden calf, the complaints against God, the numerous idol worshiping scenarios that occurred in the wilderness, their disbelief at the springs of water, their disobedience in battle... And how does the Psalm end?  How does God deal with this unsubmissive people who do nothing but turn away from His goodness?
"Nevertheless He regarded their affliction."  The pain that they had brought upon themselves, God saw it and had mercy on them because of it.  "When He heard their cry; And for their sake He remembered His covenant, and relented according to the multitude of His mercies.  He also made them to be pitied by all those who carried them away captive."

He is the God who keeps His covenant.  No matter what.  Paul says in Romans 5, "Where sin abounded, grace abounded much more..."  As Israel was, so am I.  Sin abounds in my heart, and as a believer this fact discourages me constantly.  Until I remember His mercy.  He is the God who "forgives all your iniquity." (ps103).

Lord, teach me to submit to this catastrophic grace.  



Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Known by God

To think that this Inventor
has walked inside to feel
the contours of His creation
and chosen then
by some mystery of grace
and tragic glory
to drape the infinite in
robes of time
that infinity may also be made mine...
This and only this
gives hope
to my seething soul.  

Friday, January 18, 2013

Questions of Identity: The Sinner

Within your torn and bloody rags
Concealed
A hopeless wonder
I died to redeem,
infuse into your darkness
golden light.
In Me alone
you are not what you seem. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Worthy

Usually, I don't get a lot of productive thinking done on airplanes.  I hate flying....a lot.  I don't know why, but getting on an airplane puts me in this fog of frustration.  Maybe because I'm attempting to be comfortable in vehicle the size of a cracker box.  But this past trip was a little different... I was able to spend a bit of time meditating on what I've been reading in Jeremiah.  And here's what I got...

Jeremiah is known as the "weeping prophet."  He had a lot to weep about.  The nation of Israel was going from bad to worse right before his eyes.  I've learned a lot about God from how He deals with this stubborn people, but what of the prophet himself?
First, he is overwhelmed having been assigned a task too great for him.  And in his pain and the danger in which he often finds himself, Jeremiah cries out for God's justice even as he weeps for God's mercy.  Jeremiah's view of God was like Isaiah's and Job's.  It's the same high and holy perspective of Him that we get from reading about Moses and the stories of Israel's wanderings.  This same God chose Jeremiah for the task of being a prophet when it was not safe or popular to be one.
What's incredible to me is that Jeremiah doesn't give up, though he clearly considers it.  He doesn't commit suicide or defect to become a Chaldean.  He presses on.....but WHY?  In the face of personal danger and imminent destruction and heavy sorrow...he prays and weeps and continues on.  He never asks God why all these burdens must be placed on him, or why he must be the prophet to this stubborn, sick nation. 

When I deal with pain and sorrow, especially when that suffering is due to obeying God, my first question is "WHY?"  I want to know why God thinks He has a right to take my comfort away when I was serving Him quite happily.  I so often forget that serving God is asking my comfort to be stripped away...
Jeremiah reveals that the ultimate question is not "why is this pain being inflicted on me" but "do I believe that God is worthy of this?"  In the pain and through the tears, Jeremiah presses on because God is worthy.  The prophet's view of himself is sufficiently low so as to see God as exalted and worthy of anything, even the deepest suffering.
The application?  There is no pain that He allows that I cannot endure joyfully in the Spirit and through His grace because He is worthy.  His own self (who He is as God) makes Him worthy, and His sacrifice magnifies this worthiness even more, because the cross (so the gospel)  is the embodiment of the justice and mercy that Jeremiah desired so much.

Jeremiah 12:5 is a stinging rebuke to me as a self-professed servant of God.  After Jeremiah questions God and mourns the state of his people in verses 1-4, God's response to Jeremiah first calls him back to the call of God before reminding the prophet of the plan of God.

"If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, in which you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan?"  

I have so much to learn. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

This Imperfect Body

Yesterday my brother joined First Baptist Church.  My family has been visiting this church since August, and while the rest of us are still praying and considering what God would have us do regarding church membership there or elsewhere, Adam decided Friday that he was ready to join the family at First.  He has been looking for a church for about three years, and I've watched him struggle with the decision and think through a lot of issues.  It was very satisfying to see him shaking hands with people and already talking about serving on the youth group staff.

To be honest, about five months ago I would have been panicking a little bit about his decision.  First Baptist isn't the type of church we grew up in.  There are a lot of things that happen there that I'm not personally thrilled about.  I could make a list of several things that are concerns and two of those things are a pretty big deal to me.  But there is one thing that First is very clear on. They don't compromise on the gospel and when it comes to Jesus, they aren't ashamed to talk about who He really is.  After researching probably 50 churches online and visiting several, I know that that quality is rare even here in the Bible belt of the South.  So, my brother has decided that he can know God better and serve Him more through the imperfect ministry of First Baptist.  He has committed.  He is ready to serve and grow.  And I think it's going to be great.  Already I've seen him grow again after several years of frustration and stagnation, so I'm truly excited for him.

Actually, it was soon after we started visiting First Baptist that the Lord broke me of some very serious pride regarding church.  I came home from the service one day and spent the next 30 minutes detailing my objections to my parents.  They were not impressed.  My Bible college prowess was completely lost on them as my arrogance shielded them from any constructive suggestions I might have had.  It wasn't long after their rebuke that I began to realize how critical I was about churches in general.

My view of "how church should be" was (and still is sometimes) not only narrow, but skewed.  I have the added blessing of having traveled to three other continents and participated in church services in different languages and cultures.  That should have taught me something about the diversity allowable in conducting church services according to Scripture.  Instead, I usually let those experiences make me frustrated with American churches.  My irritation came pouring out in broad brushed statements like, "American churches are so...." add an adjective.

Cold.  Formal.  Ritualistic.  Flippant.  Showy.  Unengaged.  Dutiful.  Habitual.  Compulsory.  Obligatory.  Passive.  Indifferent.  Pompous.  Opulent.  Wasteful.  Self-indulgent.  Distracted.  Etc.

It's a long list.  And some of it isn't too far off base for many churches in America.  But it's unfair to toss them all in a box and write it all off as worthless.  (The church international has it's own problems...I conveniently forget about those...) One thing the bride of Christ is NOT....worthless.  Something that I forgot in the heat of my pride.  That very church...the cold American church with the passive people and the opulent and unnecessary building.  Jesus died to claim them.  And that little African house church with the passionate believers who have all kinds of marital problems and smoking addictions....Jesus shed His blood because He wanted to redeem them.  The conservative church in Brazil who lose men to the world because ministry is hard...and the tiny church in France that fights for distinction from Catholicism and atheism....that's part of the Body that Jesus gave Himself to save.  There's also this girl who has a lot of pride, a lot to learn, a massive hole in her understanding of who God is, a constant need for grace, and a perpetual propensity for failing to be faithful to Christ.  And Jesus died for her too.  (Me...actually.)

When it comes to church membership there's something to be said for committing to a struggling, joyful group of believers and staying.  You don't give up on the Body until Jesus does...and He isn't going to.  

There were so many churches we visited as a family.  One of them had a great community and deep Bible study discipleship classes.  You know what else they had? Young adults who weren't serious about walking with God, and a missions philosophy that encouraged fear instead of boldness, and preaching that drew from popular psychology as well as from the Word of God.  Red flags?  Of course.  Is God working there?  Yes.  People are coming to Christ.  They are seeking Him.  I don't have to approve of all the methods they are using.  It's not a perfect church.

One of my irritations with other churches we've been visiting is the emphasis on programs.  Children's programs and missions programs and young adult programs and Bible study programs.  And committees and organizations and funds.  (Then I'd start my rant about the opulence and rigidity of the American church.)  Does God work outside of programs?  Yes.  Without a doubt yes.  Does He work in them too?  Sure.  I prefer the little mission churches where they don't feel the need for all those committees and business meetings and what have you.  But that doesn't make those things wrong.  Once again..I don't have to approve.  Because church isn't about me.  It's about Christ.  And as the members of the body put aside themselves to love and serve each other, they stop yelling at each other about the music style and the outreach fund.  Instead they seek to glorify Christ together and the beauty of unity is seen without compromising Truth.

What have I learned as we have visited churches and prayerfully considered our decisions?  It's a Body.  An imperfect body with all kinds of problems.  The Lord is working in His church still and He isn't done.  There is hope for us!  For me!  Because of the gospel.
I'm still learning to see things this way.  I'm still learning to trust God to be God in spite of how things look to me.  Yes, I'm that conceited sometimes.  God help me.

When the Bride comes down the aisle, nobody notices the blemish on her skin or the limp in her step or the scar on her arm.  They only see the beauty.  One day, this imperfect Body will be the spotless Bride of Christ.  He will get the glory for redeeming, saving, crowning her.  His scars will tell the story of His love for her.  And our only response will be worship.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Classical Education: Reflections on Student Teaching

My mom hates winter.  She hates the bone-biting cold and the dead trees and the hovering despair.  Most people see winter as holiday season, but mom has always been one to see under the tinsel and glitter.  Winter is winter.  To her, its purpose is to build anticipation for spring and get through it with as much family fun and positive outlook as one can muster.
Personally, spring means boxes of tissues and creative pollen avoidance methods.  So I don't mind winter so much.  In fact, I enjoy the moments I can spend at the kitchen table with some hot tea and a pen, enjoying cold winter light filtering past the trees in the yard and watching cardinals dip timid beaks into the frigid bird bath.  Today, I'm doing just that while listening to Susan Boyle's melancholy album "I Dreamed A Dream" and regretting that I've neglected my blog. Does anybody still read this thing?

A lot has happened since my last post.  There's a backlog of thoughts that need to be processed and writing is an effective method for doing so.  Read on if your brave enough to slog through reflections on student teaching at a classical school.  This is not a post for the faint of eye or for those uninterested in educational theory and practice.  :)

THE CLASSICAL MODEL and THE PROGRESSIVE MODEL
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?

What's the difference between classical education and "regular" education?
If you're asking this question you were probably educated in a public school or a non-classical Christian school.  (There's a chance you were homeschooled, but in my experience a lot of homeschooled kids know about classical education.)  If that's the case you probably went to a "progressive" school which is currently the mainstream educational model.  "Normal," "mainstream," or "progressive" education is all the same thing.  It means that teachers teach material to meet the testing standards for the state.  They pull from state recognized textbooks and the goal is to get the student to know the information.
There's nothing inherently wrong with this model.  And, as I've learned, there are strengths and weaknesses to both models.  But I do believe classical education to be the superior choice for reasons I'll explain momentarily.

One thing to note: Kids in progressive schools are easily frustrated by the volume of "pointless" classes/information.  Progressive models work on the assumed value of the material.  And most progressive schools don't take time to make meaning explicit.  Students don't know why they need the information they are getting.  And when they work up the nerve (or impertinence) to ask the teacher why, the teacher usually stammers and sputters and tries to explain that they need to pass the state test to get to college to make something of themselves.  But then the student, naturally, begins to question the validity of a test that assesses seemingly pointless objectives.  "If I want to be a lawyer, why do I need to know physics?"  At this point, teachers sometimes say things like, "Well you never know...you might end up being a math teacher."  Another circular reasoning method that irritates and confuses the learner.  I knew from the time I was in fourth grade that my gifts did NOT lie in the realm of mathematics.  It would be poor stewardship to head in that direction.  (My friends who know of my one year math major catastrophe in college have full right to laugh at this statement.)

The classical model of education differs in material covered as well as objectives.
Classical education follows the ancient Greek/Roman model of the Trivium and Quadrivium (with a modern emphasis on the trivium).
The trivium is educational theory that emphasizes Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric.

At the lower level, the Grammar level, students are required to do a lot of memorizing.
They learn language and how it works and the basics of math and science.  They are encouraged to think, but the emphasis is to give them the tools they need in order to get to the good stuff later.  The key difference in content at the grammar level is the learning of Latin which is later to be used as a branch to better understanding English and easily learning any Latin based language.

At the upper levels (Rhetoric level), students take classes in logic and debate and continue their Latin studies.  They take their usual English, math, science, etc.  But these classes are designed not to feed information to waiting brains, but rather to engage students with critical thinking and force them to do something with what they have been learning. In these final levels of the model (junior and senior years), students are forced to articulate their their learning in writing and speaking.  They engage in rhetoric which puts them in a place to have their ideas challenged.  They must be able to defend their critical thinking.  This usually happens in the form of a senior thesis which is a topic the student researches, writes a persuasive paper about, and presents verbally to a panel which challenges the student's views with hard questions which the student must answer on the spot.
Intense?  Yep.  You bet.  And VERY practical.
 
The final product of a Classical school is a student who thinks critically and is able to defend those thoughts.
There's a goal.  It's not just to pass state tests.  It's to make a young adult who can actively engage in the world as a thinking, interested, intelligent, human being.

As a Christian there are obvious benefits to using the classical model.  The ability to discern and articulate the gospel primarily and everything else as it relates to the gospel secondarily is one of the ways that we are to bring glory to God as Image Bearers.  So when classical education is fused with Biblical truth, it's power is magnified by a LOT.  Progressive education fused with Biblical truth is still missing the "why."
I would argue that those inquisitive students who want to know "why I need to know algebra" are not wrong or impertinent to ask those questions.  After all, we only have 70 or so years here on earth.  Why waste it on stuff that doesn't matter?  And algebra does matter!  But we have to remember why.  
The classical teacher has the delight of making the "why" more readily explicit.  Why algebra?  Algebra points us to the Creator and allows us to hone our critical and abstract thinking as well as test our logic skills.  Why history?  History is the textbook for the present.  We need the perspective of the past to test our present ideas.  My favorite aspect of the classical model?  Everything connects.  In a classical model it is more readily apparent that the connection (crossover) of subjects is not only existent, but also strong and necessary in a way that helps students apply concepts for the glory of God.

When I first started looking for a school close to home where I could student teach, I was shocked to realize how marginalized critical thinking was in Christian schools.  Even those which had achieved accreditation seemed to be all about pushing through to the SAT and pressuring kids to get high scores.  If critical thinking could be sprinkled into the daily lessons as a garnish, fine. If not, it really wasn't a big deal because the important thing was college entrance scores.  Worse than the high-pressure, score-crazy schools, there were the non-accredited, low-pressure schools that didn't push their kids to do much of anything.  It was a pendulum and I felt like I was choosing between academic mediocrity and high-gear bean counting.

I'm not going to identify the source of this incorrect emphasis, because I truly don't know.  Parents?  Teachers? The federal government?  The students themselves?  A mix of everything?  That's a debate I don't want to waste time on.
I'm just glad the Lord led me to Summit Christian Academy.  It's not a perfect school.  But I learned so much there.

WHAT I LEARNED: THE SHORT LIST
I'm a global thinking die-hard idealist.  Which is great if you need someone to encourage you.  But a terrible, dangerous mix if you're trying to get a good idea of what reality looks like and how to fix a problem.   Here's the short list of major things I learned as a student teacher at Summit.


1. There is a reason my "brilliant" ideas haven't been made common educational practice.  

Before I began my 8 weeks of teaching, I had to do in-class observations.  I admit that I did these with a degree of smugness.  I watched great teachers employ conventional teaching methods and I would sit in the back of the classroom and sniff haughtily.  "When I teach, we won't do boring things like that."  And then I got my turn.  And my "creativity" backfired on more than one occasion.  The result, I have lost my disdain for all convention.  There is a reason that teachers still use the time tested methods of teaching.  There is a place for creativity.  And there is a place for new and fresh.  But some things will be what they are.  And that's okay.

2. Details are important to some degree.  

More times than I could count, my class would have just finished a phenomenal discussion.  I would walk out of the classroom on cloud nine, absolutely elated that I had implemented good teaching methods, inspired my students to think critically, and connected all of it back to the Word of God so that they actually had application for the seemingly archaic lesson about Greek mythology.  Yes!  Score one for a great day of teaching!  Then my fantastic cooperating teacher would catch up to me as I sailed blissfully down the hall to my next class.  "Emily!  What a great discussion today!"  Nearly giddy at this point I would reply, "Thanks!"  And then the world would come crashing down as she would inquire, "What are you going to assess from that lesson?"  Assess?  Like give a test or quiz?  Who needs an assessment!?  They clearly got it!  They were interested and answering questions.  They were alive to the material and absorbing and using it.  I forgot...they do need a measurable objective so I can help them get from one point to another.

My global thinking is a strength and a weakness.  It helps me see the big picture of what my students need as an end goal.  But as one of my favorite teachers (Dr. Fellars...) once said, "Stories live in their details."  So do lessons.  And life itself.  Details are important.  Otherwise, we could live in a blank slate sort of world doing general things.  But that's not how God made us.  I could summarize the story of "To Kill a Mockingbird."  And whoever listens to the summary would get the point.  But there's more than the point.  And the impact is greatly increased when I let the details speak.  

3. Every day cannot be a party.  
While I want to teach by delighting, I can't do that every day.  I can work hard to make the material as interesting as possible, but ultimately, I'm not here to make them happy.  I'm here to make them better people better able to know and serve God.  One day I came home from school frustrated and near tears.  Mom found me in this deplorable state and asked, "What's going on?"  I told her how much I was pouring into my 9th grade poetry lessons and how much I wanted my students to love poetry with every fiber of their beings.  I told her how I'd been so excited and passionate and kept laboring to help them see the beauty and majesty of God in the language of poetry, and in spite of all that work I was still getting blank stares from my students.  Mom smiled at me and laughed a little.  Then she said, "Emily, every day cannot be a party.  Every kid isn't going to have an 'aha' moment every day.  Every lesson can't be amazing.  Some days are just like that.  It's okay.  Keep doing your best and trusting God.  Maybe they'll love poetry.  Maybe not.  But you're planting seeds."

4. Classical education isn't going to save the world. 
I admit that I had on a pair of glasses colored deep rose when I first started my student teaching.  I thought I had wonderful ideas, and I thought a classical school would be the best place to affirm my brilliance.  Talk about arrogance.  It was a humbling experience to be corrected and realize that I desperately needed that correction.  Now I think I had decent ideas that needed a LOT of refining from the brilliant teachers that I was privileged to work under in the boot camp of classical school.
As I learned to remove the glasses and see reality, I understood that classical education doesn't change hearts.  Moving an apathetic student from a progressive school to a classical school doesn't help unless God works in the heart. Equipping kids to think critically but not praying for God to make them humble servants doesn't better the world in any way.
If I had children and it came down to choosing between progressive and classical schools, I wouldn't even have to think about it.  I would choose to send them to a classical school.  But I am not going to expect that classical model to change the heart of my child.  I would expect my child to learn and grow and become a critical thinker.  But there's no magic system.  God is still the only one who changes people.




Student teaching was a great experience. It was hard and wonderful.  I miss my students!  How difficult it was to say goodbye to them!  I am pretty sure that I learned much more from them than they did from me.  I guess I'm a little more realistic in my expectations these days, but I was still encouraged by the Summit staff to dream big and expect great things.

To Mrs. Lane, Mrs. Spaulding, and Mrs. Hardison most of all, thank you for your patience and love and support.
To the rest of the Summit staff and of course, to my students who made me laugh and cry and wish I could stay, I thank God for you all and look forward to what He will do in the future with you.  :)