Well it’s the first week of year number 4 and everything went off beautifully (I cannot believe it has been 4 years since God led me to open this school)! We added a preschool room this year, so we can now give children as young as two FREEDOM! We have a larger community, and have even added a health room! We are so excited about the ways The Living Water School continues to grow and develop. One evening this week as my children and I left the school (we are usually the last ones to leave at the end of the school day), my oldest son (he’s 8 years old) asked me the most interesting question. This was the discussion we had:
Michael (my son): Mom, is Susie coming back this year?
Me: No, she’s not coming back.
Daisy (my 4 year old daughter…Susie is her best friend): NO!!!!! I Love Susie!
Michael: But why?
Me: (pausing for a moment to think of the best answer to give)
Me: Well, her parents decided to enroll her in a new school.
Michael (eyes get big, his mouth falls open in shock): WHAT?! But why???
Me: (again I pause…I actually really like this family so wanted to keep it positive)
Michael: I just don’t understand! Why would anyone want to put their child in another school?
Me: Well, some parents struggle a little with all the freedom we give the students.
Michael (again looks totally shocked): What?! What’s wrong with our freedom!? Why wouldn’t they want us to have freedom!?
Me: Well some families feel more comfortable when their child has a more traditional learning experience.
Michael: Like what do you mean?
Me: Well, they want to be sure their child is getting all of the education they need, so they feel safer if their child is behind a desk for a good part of a day, following a set schedule, listening to a teacher give the education, homework, tests…all those things help parents feel sure that their child is getting all of their education.
Michael: But I don’t understand! Why wouldn’t they want their child to be free to run around, play in the pond, play with friends and just be free!?
(At this point another teacher gets in the car so we can give him a ride home, and Michael continues his rant. I get out of the car to make sure the school doors are locked, but my son is continuing to fuss about the topic. I then get back in the car…)
Other Teacher: Did you hear what he just said????
Me: No, what did he say?
Other Teacher: He said, “So the parents just want their kids to be enslaved!?”
Me: He said that???
Other Teacher: (laughing) Yes he did!
Me: Whoa…um Michael….um….(I’m trying to find words to “fix” what my son has said so it is more positive.)
Other Teacher: (still laughing) Uh, wisdom has spoken.
(We both turn around to look at Michael in amazement and he looks at us in all of his innocence.)
This particular family was a wonderful family who really saw how the school was benefiting their child, but family members and outside influences persuaded them to try a traditional school. I do not want others to think that the staff of Living Water would judge any parent in this way. Children see things so black and white sometimes. It takes a lot of courage, faith and trust to set children free. Even though I founded the school, I still daily wrestle with my own worries in giving my children the freedom to chart their course in life. But I see what is happening to them. It’s a really subtle and sometimes slow process. It reminds me of when we plant a seed and slowly watch it grow into a plant. We water it, care for it, nurture it, protect it as much as we can without hindering it or imposing ourselves on it, and then one day it’s a beautiful plant! I see this happening with my own children and I see it happening with the students of the school. I am so thankful for those parents who have the courage to join me this 4th year in trusting the process and I am looking forward to another year enjoying the adventure of watching our kids learn and grown in FREEDOM.