Core scripture: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).
Message: How do you say goodbye to those you love? To those who have supported you through thick and thin? Sometimes words simply will not do the situation justice. No matter what I write today, nothing can describe the feelings our staff feels right now as we transition into the 2018-2019 school year. It started midway through this past school year when our fearless leader announced she was leaving our school to open the new middle school in our district. Her departure led many on our staff to apply for jobs at her new building. Long story short, half of our faculty will be brand new to Indian Trail Middle School in the fall.
The staff breakfast on the last day was bittersweet. With tear-filled eyes, our principal addressed our staff one last time. Normally this would be a time to recognize those who were moving on. Not this day. There were just too many. Calling each name up would have been an emotional overload. You see, our staff—we are more than just co-workers. We are family. That mentality has been here ever since I stepped foot in our building 15 years ago, and it was seen the last day. We held young mothers’ babies. We laughed. We ate. We reminisced. We bonded. Today I cannot imagine life any other way.
It is special to know that you work in a building where you have each other’s backs. Philippians 2:4 says, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” That’s us. Our staff never fails to support one another. Last spring I got that call that no teacher wants to get. My kindergartner was sick at school. He needed to be picked up immediately. I sent a desperate e-mail out to our staff asking for coverage. Within minutes Will was at my door. The rest of my day was picked up by other staff members. I actually had to turn down other offers. All to help a teacher in need. We are truly blessed.
It all boils down to the unconditional love described in the core scripture above. Even with new faces coming in, that love will still be here. I cannot wait for our new staff and our new principal to experience that love. The family mentality will stand true. Stronger than ever. It will follow the staff leaving to Summit Trail, and it will envelop Indian Trail as well. It is a love described so well by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, running deeper than your typical workplace. It propels you through the day, and makes all the sacrifice worth it. I can only hope that every teacher out there gets to experience this love.
My classroom lives by the mantra of ohana. Ohana is the Hawaiian word for family. It deepens our classroom relationships. The kids treat each other like brothers and sisters, and I become a father figure, teaching as much about character as I do curriculum. How awesome that our school is very much the same. Family. Love. Sacrifice. It all binds us together in perfect unity. As we transition into the summer and new school year on the horizon, this is not goodbye. It is see you later. It was William Shakespeare who said, “Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow” (Romeo and Juliet). Sweet sorrow. No better words to sum it all up.
Challenge: Do you have anyone at work whom you consider family? Thank that person. Through a phone call, a note or letter, or a simple chat over coffee, let them know how much you value their friendship.
I can only hope that the staff members outside our prayer group receive this message. If you are reading this as an Indian Trail staff member and want to share a memory by replying to this blog below, I encourage you to do so. I would love to hear what makes this school special to each of you.
Song application: “Family” by Toby Mac
Are we too far apart?
Two worlds among the stars
You’re gonna take a piece of my heart
If you leave
So it’s two separate ways
Or am I too late to say?
I wanna fight for what we got
‘Cause I believe in family
Cinema application: Watch Lilo and Stitch with your family this week. I know my boys are going to love it. Check out the trailer to the movie below:
Journal/Accountability: Journal or talk with a trusted Christian friend about ways you can grow friendships at work. Cultivate those relationships with God’s love in your heart.
Quote: “Ohana means family, and family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.” (Lilo and Stitch)
Bible story: If you need wisdom on how your own family should work at home, look no further than Ephesians. Paul gives us some practical advice in Ephesians 5:21-6:4 on how husbands and wives should treat one another, not to mention how children factor into the family mix.
Prayer: Father, we praise you for friendships, family, and new beginnings. May Your love be the guiding force as we transition into the 2018-2019 school year. Amen.