As a parent of a 14-year old and a leader dedicated to building the right culture in our high school, I listened closely. How do we stay connected to our growing child when they act as if they don’t need us? How do we allow students to grow up, not grow apart, and guide them towards intentional living? Parenting is such a joy and challenge and burden, as is leading a school!
In Growing Young (for churches) and Growing With (for parents), one common theme was to “develop empathy that nudges not judges.” We must fight for our children, and grow with them, not against them. We must work towards solutions rather than only identifying problems. Young people need to feel we accept them for who they are, not what we want them to be.
The word warmth was used over and over again. Young people want to be known, no matter what happens, and they want to feel at home. Our job is to fuel a warm community with intergenerational friendships, so they feel safe to express their doubts and struggles. Truth must come through love and experience. Our goal should be to prioritize their involvement in every facets of our school, and let them learn through experience.
Guess the ratio of mentors to children to help them feel known and at home, and welcomed with warmth? 5:1. Yes, in this complex world, young people ages 15-29 thrive when 5 adults are involved in their lives in different ways, whether teaching, coaching, employing, befriending, or acquainting. Young people need us to dive into tough discussions about dating, careers, and finances. It takes all of us to intentionally unleash their passions and talents so they can change our world into a better place.
A poem from our 5th Grade Reading List: "Nobility" by Alice Carey (1849)
True worth is in being, not seeming,
In doing, each day that goes by,
Some little good—not in dreaming
Of great things to do by and by.
For whatever men say in their blindness,
And spite of the fancies of youth,
There’s nothing so kingly as kindness,
And nothing so royal as truth.
May JH Classical Academy abound in warmth, empathy, and “withing”: supporting each other as children grow more independent!