Part of the vision statement for Cedars Christian School states: “Both teachers and parents unite to help the child to:
- develop his or her unique potential
- internalize spiritual values
- live a life of service, fellowship, stewardship, discipleship, and obedience to God.”
In this article I’d like to focus on the phrase “teachers and parents help the child to . . . live a life of service.” People are not born with a natural desire to serve others and God. In fact, exactly the opposite is the case: we are born with a tendency to serve ourselves and get the best we can for ourselves. We see that in newborns and toddlers, as children naturally ball up their little fists and cry until their needs are met. As we grow older, this message of “me first” becomes reinforced in the media. Examples that reflect this message are abundant, for instance: “You deserve a break today” (advertisement by McDonalds); “You got to serve yourself. Nobody gonna do for you” (John Lennon); the fact that the media creates a need in us and then seeks to convince us that we need to fill that need with a new form of technology, a new tool for the workshop, a new work-saver for the house, or some other product.
It is our belief at Cedars Christian School that since all of us, including our students, are born with a natural tendency to serve ourselves, and since all of us, again including our students, are bombarded with a media that says we ought to first serve ourselves, we need to provide opportunities for our students to learn to serve others and God. The Cedars staff does that in a number of ways, but I’d like to illustrate one way that a program of visiting seniors in our community with my grade 4 class attempts to teach children what it means to serve others and God.