September 27 Home Communicator – Entering my new role as principal, many warned me about middle schoolers. Definitely a unique age–not an elementary student anymore, yet not a young adult. A time comprised of hormones, acne, high energy, and discovering one’s place in the world. In an environment like that, how is education possible? How do you get a class of 25 students to focus? How can 250 middle school students sit quietly in chapel twice a week?
Last Tuesday morning, at 8:00, I found the answer. Spend time reading Scripture.
The gym lights were off, there were no chairs, and the room was illuminated with a dozen lamps collected from teachers. Students were split into two groups. Half in the North Gym and the other half in the South. Upon entering, music was playing and a bookmark with nine Scripture passages was handed out at the door. Three verses each, about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
After a brief introduction, students spread out and spent time in silence reading their Bible. They journaled and reflected on how the Lord was speaking to them. And the incredible thing–students were silent and respectful. There was no talking with friends, just silent reflection, prayer, reading, and journaling. Incredible.
And the story got better. After 20 minutes, all the students from the North Gym joined their classmates in the South. Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth graders began raising their hands and sharing with the entire student body what they were journaling about, and how God was speaking to them in their moments of quiet reflection. They were vulnerable and most of what they shared was from Scripture.
Upon leaving the gym that morning one thing was certain–maybe I should act a little more like a middle schooler.
Chris Achterhof, Middle School Principal