28 Jan 2013 TonyaJohnson

To Live in Love

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Regent University - childrenThis week, I was reminded of the Apostle Peter’s words to the people “scattered” in “Pon’-tus, Ga-la’-ti-a, Cap-pa-do’-ci-a, Asia, and Bi-thyn’-i-a” as he admonished them to “Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly; not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God” (1 Peter 1:1, 5:2, KJV, NLT).

After reading Regent University’s “Verse of the Day,” I found myself reflecting on an experience I had the day before which exemplified Peter’s sentiments.

While conducting a site visit for a class assignment at a very prominent educational facility in New York at a leading charter school in the nation, one of my fondest moments was seeing a teacher kneel down to hug his young student at approximately 7:15 in the morning as he declared, “I’m so glad that you’re here today!” Mind you, this was not a Christian school; however, I watched loving, friendly, happy and courteous faculty members travel through the halls; very disciplined, receptive, obedient and hardworking students willingly interact with peers and confidently engage in dialogue with teachers as I sat in the back of a number of classrooms quietly making observations and taking notes.

For the first time in years, I saw elementary and middle school age students who enjoyed being in school, enjoyed learning, expressed a great deal of respect for teachers and administrators; staff and faculty that enjoyed their jobs and students that enjoyed their “school family” in their “home away from home.” It became clear to me that this type of school environment/dynamic, coupled with the strong, loving Christian emphasis and Christian worldview that’s fostered at Regent is what I hope to duplicate in my own future Christian school.

After conducting observations, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with two of the school’s operation directors to explore the reasons behind the school’s success. During the interview, when I asked what resources or books they recommend, I was taken aback and elated at the response I received. One of the directors stated, “Love and Logic”; “Teach Like A Champion,” by Doug Lemov; and “Creating Schools That Heal” I joyfully exclaimed, “Love and Logic is one of the books that my school uses!”

While attending the “Individual Differences & Classroom Management” course here at Regent in 2011, I was exposed to this dynamic educational series and valuable resource written by authors Jim Faye, David Funk and others. This New York City charter school has received all A’s in “student progress,” “student performance” and “school environment,” according to the New York City Department of Education’s Progress Report. The fact that one of the recommended resource materials used is also one that highly skilled faculty at Regent University also use speaks volumes and is a testament to the quality of education and resources that we receive here. This quality of education has earned Regent an “A” grade as rated by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA).

As I further reflect upon the Apostle Peter’s passionate words, the positive interactions that I’ve experienced at Regent as well as in the school I visited this week, I am reminded of a very profound question I heard a couple of years ago that has remained with me, which comes from Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison and the question she asked of all parents: “When your child walks in the room, does your face light up?…let your face speak what’s in your heart…” (www.oprah.com).

I extend this same thought-provoking and applicable question to not only parents but to teachers, pastors, religious leaders, parishioners, employers, employees, grandparents, godparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, nieces, nephews, neighbors, and heads of states and ask the following questions: How do we respond to those we come in contact with? How do we treat and care for the impressionable souls that God has entrusted us with? How do we treat those in our sphere of influence, in our neighborhoods, and in this world? “Does your face light up?”  Do we respond with love, patience, kindness and forgiveness, or are we quick to assume the worst about others and respond impatiently, grudgingly with hatred, unforgiveness and indifference? What spirit and character are we living and projecting? Is it God or someone else?

As always, be blessed dear hearts!

Tonya Johnson

M.Ed. in Christian School Program

Online Student

New York, NY

I am blessed with a wonderful family and believe that nothing is accidential, but carefully orchestrated and presented by an all-wise, all knowing, all powerful and mighty God. Praying daily to be a willing instrument in His divine plan.
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