by Dawn Robinson
CLEF’s mission is to provide academic excellence to our students in a Christian environment. Today that can mean at-risk remote learning, in place of classroom instruction and safety. How can we help provide our students and their families with a Christian perspective in the face of despair, anger, racism, and destruction?
Perhaps we can start with The Golden Rule (treat others as you want to be treated), and help inspire a new age of equality, empathy and justice for all. An age that demands the energy and conviction to take positive actions that result in positive decisions and positive outcomes.
We have all faced serious health concerns, social distancing, isolation, peril, and multiple changes that none of us could have imagined as little as three months ago. What if every change and concern is really a call for individual reflection and positive action? Health threats could lead to healthy lifestyle changes. Social distancing could lead to more awareness and empathy for each other. Isolation could show us that no man, woman or child is an island but simply a unique part of our common humanity. What if perilous times remind us of the value of meaningful, intentional and peaceful communications? What if changes, viewed as difficult and demanding, are overdue, needed, and necessary; now more than ever?
Our children need ways to express their feelings as they attempt to process their internalized thoughts and fears. Their learning environment has drastically changed and now their neighborhood environment has changed. Many children have limited access to outdoor living spaces and may experience fear in leaving the safety of their home environment. They need creative ways to convey their thoughts on paper, act them out in creative play or even sing and play music to help express their feelings.
We must remember that our children look to the adults in their lives as role models. Often, they mirror our language, attitudes and actions. As adults we must choose to be the light that helps to dispel darkness. We can be the light in our community that helps in cleaning up, delivering groceries, and helping those in distress. We can show our children the wisdom of Dr. Martin Luther King’s words: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” We can empower the children to make meaningful decisions that will instill lifetime attitudes of integrity, goodwill, and service to others.
We can display servant leadership to our children by taking the time to really listen to them. We can acknowledge their awareness and show a personal commitment to their growth, as we all strive to strengthen and build our communities together.
Francis of Assisi once said: “Preach the Gospel every day; use words if you have to.” The Gospel of Jesus Christ includes the message of love one another, diversity, equality, forgiveness, faith, and salvation. In other words, go and do; don’t sit and hope. At CLEF schools we practice the Gospel every day through our actions of love, compassion, and inclusion for our children and their families.
Children and young adults, although young in years, are often mature in spirit and willingness to create and be catalysts for change. A piece of paper and a box of crayons are all they need to unleash their creativity and vision for an enlightened and sustainable world. I for one, am eager to encourage and support the wonder and greatness they will conceive, believe, and ultimately achieve.
Dawn Robinson is the Federal Funds Coordinator for the Chicagoland Lutheran Educational Foundation and is instrumental in securing funds that help secure children’s futures. She is married with three children and is a light unto the world with her servant’s heart.