“We’ve got spirit, yes we do, we’ve got spirit, how bout you?!” 🙂
This past week was a good week as Joy Christian School had its first 2014 Spirit Week. Freshmen students were “adopted” by Senior Students and both age groups worked together to create school spirit, fun, and school pride. Our first home football game was on Friday and everybody at school dressed up in “Black-Out” mode. I really love the sense of unity and pride that is moving JCS forward.
This 6th week brought about a first for me. I grew up on a farm in Kansas. Kansas winters can be brutal and every student frequently “prayed” for a day off…we called it a Snow Day. This pic is of the Renner Farm house I grew up in. My parents are just moving off the Renner Farm and into town and my younger sister and her husband are taking over the farm. I tell this quick story, because this week…Phoenix AZ didn’t have a SNOW DAY…we had a RAIN DAY! Monday was off due to flooding. I’d never heard of such a thing…but I realized that teachers enjoy these “special” days off just as much as a student does! It was a fun email to receive first thing in the Morning this past Monday! NO SCHOOL DUE TO RAIN! (That was a first!) And it wasn’t just a little rain either.
So, having the day off is fun…especially a Monday…and it makes for a very short week. Having Spirit Week too, meant that each of my classes for this week, were only 30 minutes. Try it sometime. Have 25 teenagers come into your living room, get them settled and teach the subject material you have planned in the remaining 20-25 minutes. It’s fun and It’s challenging. The time just fly’s by.
As the students in Room 1501 and I get more comfortable with each other, some inevitable things will happen. When people get comfortable with each other they naturally begin to let down their guards. This is good and bad. Good in the sense that we open up with each other more, allowing for more “heart of the matter” discussions. Bad in the sense that the students in Room 1501 aren’t as nervous around me and thus they are more apt to talk out of place, talk over each other, and/or simply just mess around more. This is the first week I’ve really had to challenge a group of guys to “Knock it off!” I think that I have built enough respect and relationship with the students that they can accept me getting a little ticked off at them on a occasion. They listened and settled down for the remaining time. The thing that makes me smile about all this, is simply the fact that I was a one of those high school students that “stirred it up” and I think it’s all God’s sense of humor and “pay back. (I typed the previous sentence with a smile.)
At that moment I challenged a group of guys to “knock it off”, it gave me another chance to reteach and reinforce something we talked about the first week of school. I call it “Having a Personal Hermeneutic. (prounounced her-men-oo-tic.) If you are a parent of a student in Room 1501, ask them what the 6 Hermeneutics of personal ethics are and which one they are trying to be. (More explanation below)
Hermeneutic refers to a method of interpretation. It is a Bible Study word at a Master’s Degree Level in Bible Colleges and the students in Room 1501 know this word. I am asking the students to take it beyond Bible study and apply it to their personal lives. You, as an adult, can do this too. To teach this… I modified some definitions of Moral Codes and Ethics that Lawrence Kohlberg first wrote about. If you would like to read his thesis paper about this, you can go directly to the link from here…http://faculty.plts.edu/gpence/html/kohlberg.htm. This thesis paper is also referenced in a book I recently read called “Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire.” By Rafe Esquith.
I took Kohlberg’s complicated definitions and created an acronym…each letter represents one word and one level of hermeneutic. All 6 levels are good…but the last one is the Greatest and our ultimate goal. As you look at the following six levels of personal code of ethics, I challenge you to honestly pick which one you use most often to make the decisions you do. You can regularly use all six, but one will trump them all. Your goal will be to get to level six. The six words can be remembered through the Acronym A.S.P.R.M.O. (That acronym can be pronounced, “A Super M.O.”) M.O. being your “Mode of Operation” You want your M.O. to be the last of the 6 hermeneutics. It takes great maturity and thought to get there.
Here are 6 levels of Hermeneutic that the students of Rm 1501 are working on.
A — AVOIDER. “I don’t want to get into trouble.” An avoider is someone who makes decisions because they simply want to avoid getting into trouble and they don’t want to be punished.
S — SEEKER. “I want a reward.” This person makes decisions based on what the reward is for being right. “If I make a good decision, my boss will give me extra days off”…if we get a good grade on our tests, we’ll have a pizza party. (Again this is not bad…however…if you are always making decisions about getting a reward from somebody, your life is centered around getting rewarded like a dog that learns tricks for treats. Shouldn’t we be properly behaving because its the right thing to do…not just do it for some reward. Good grades are the reward. Good work ethic is the reward! Be careful being a seeker…you can easily become someone’s puppet.
P — PLEASER. “I want you to be happy with me.” A seeker is someone who is constantly seeking approval of others and can be motivated by “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” They are seeking other’s approval and this dictates many decisions they make. So, my challenge question to you is this. Do you tie your shoes for someone else? Do you brush your teeth for me? No. We want to make decisions based off of what is right…not to just please the people around us.
R — RULER. “We all must follow the rules.” This person is obeying laws, respecting authority, and performing one’s duties so that the social order is maintained and usually demands everybody else do it also. Don’t forget that some of the greatest world changers, made the change by breaking the current rules. Jesus, Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela…to name a few dynamic ones. Rulers…from a negative perspective can be likened to a Pharisee of Jesus’s time. I understand that their are times the rules should be followed. I struggle with Rulers the most. I am one to always ask…who created this rule? What is the real purpose of this rule? Did the rule maker make the rule out of personal preference or for a serious purpose? Following the rules to just follow the rules can be very dangerous. There is a better way.
M — MANNERS. “I am considerate of other people.” This is a great level of hermeneutic. Imagine the world if it were full of Level 5 thinkers.” I just think we can still do better. Manners is good because it honors and focuses on others. Manners is bad because it still is about making decisions based off of others, not your own hermeneutic…so…I challenge you to get to level 6.
O — OWNER. “I have a personal code of conduct and I follow it.” This kind of decision making resides in the soul of the decision maker. It can only be lived when the individual has a healthy dose of humility and character. This humility and character are usually honed through pain and a serious desire to live as God created us…a steward of all things. An owner treats his/her business very differently than a customer. When you walk onto the Joy High School campus you can see who the owners are. They are the ones who stop to pick up a piece of trash that is laying on the ground while all others walk on it and over it. Hermeneutics 5 and 6 are very good and very similar, but maybe the farmboy in me can help us all understand the slight difference with this example. Think in detail about breakfast. “Manners” are like the chicken’s contribution to breakfast. “Owners” are like the pig’s contribution. (Get it?) If you don’t get it, then you have lived in the city too long! LOL…the chicken only contributes the egg with a little pain. The pig gives his life for the bacon! (Come on…did I really have to explain that!?) 🙂 An owner makes up his/her mind before the circumstances even happen and the decision that needs to be made has been made ahead of time. Both come with pain. The first five levels usually face pain after the decision has been acted out. Owners go through the pain of making the disciplined decision and living the disciplined life.
There are two kinds of pain in life. Dealing with Consequences and developing discipline. Both are a pain, but you and I choose which pain we want to live with. The first 5 levels are motivated by other people. Level six is a predetermined level of behavior that is never broken on purpose.
These are things we talk about as we study BIBLE in Room 1501. I wish somebody would have taught me this stuff when I was in school.
It was a short and good week…Wow…Monday is upon us.