A note from Lawrence Hamm, Superintendent, CEO of WMEMS
Not long ago, as I was attending one of our Kindergarten Information nights, I had a potential parent ask me, why is a Christian education important for my child? What tangible benefits will my child gain from coming to school at WMEMS versus a secular school?
I had a number of answers ready for the parent, but first I asked them to think about what drove them to show up at our school that night. Were they looking for a strong academic offering? Were they looking for a safe, caring environment? Were they looking for faith to be integrated into their child’s life on a daily basis? They answered yes to all three questions.
I continued by sharing “that I see great value and many benefits in a Christian education, but the benefits for you will depend on what is valuable to you as parents and how you are looking to equip your child”. After a moment of awkward silence, I continued with my reasoning. You see, I (and many others) believe that one of the most important tasks of childhood is the formation of our personal identity.
Once our identity is developed, it drives who we are, how we act, how we learn and how we see the world. It influences every part of our life and the decisions we make.
The creation, development and formation of our personal identity begins as soon as we are born and is greatly solidified by the time we reach adolescence (early teens). It’s like the foundation of a house. What goes into the foundation determines what comes after. You can try to add all kinds of things after the foundation is laid, but ultimately your foundation determines the end product.
A child has many influences during this all-important period of development. Their parent’s, families, friends, churches, clubs, teams and schools all play important roles. Think back to your childhood and think about those things that influenced you.
Other than parents, very few people (if any) spend more time with a child than their teacher. This is one of the things I think greatly distinguishes us as a school. It’s not just the message, it’s the messenger too (teachers). Don’t get me wrong, the message is extremely important and our message often differs from the message in other schools, but the message is less effective without a great teacher.
Teachers have a great influence on a child and what they believe. What a teacher says, what a teacher does, how a teacher speaks, what they profess to believe and how they live out their lives influence our kids. Kids are always watching and they watch our teachers every day. Our teachers all teach from the same place and from the same set of beliefs. They live out our message. That cannot help but have a huge effect on how a young person sees and experiences the world during their formative years. This plays a huge role in who our students turn out to be and how they think and see the world.
To conclude, I said to the parent I was speaking with, that “the benefit for our family came from an approach at WMEMS that not only touched on academics, but it came from an approach that touched all areas of our children’s lives and a shared belief that was lived out by those who spent time with our kids.” The identity that our kids would develop during their formative years has influenced them and will serve them for the rest of their lives. I am glad that I see it in my children (and yours) each and every day.