Unbelievably, we have completed the first week of school! It is hard to comprehend how fast time goes, and it certainly seems that the older I get, the faster the clock ticks. The Robinsons have a senior this year for crying out loud! I vividly remember the day we brought our first little girl home from the hospital, thinking we had an eternity of time ahead of us, and yet, here we are. Amazing.
God has been so good to us along this path we have traveled. As parents, He has essentially commissioned us with one task: Get your children ready to enter the world as well-trained, independent believers, who will impact their society with the truth of The Gospel. Seems simple. We can certainly clutter it up with other stuff along the way, can’t we? I look forward to sharing our family’s special year with each of you. We wouldn’t want it any other way, because all of you have played a part in the development of our kids. Thank you.
The first week has been a blur of activity and excitement. It is always so much fun to see everyone coming back from summer with new uniforms, backpacks, notebooks, and outlooks. One of the beautiful things about school, that makes it different from most other activities, is that you get a fresh start each fall. New teachers, new faces, new vision. As everyone gets acquainted with their new surroundings, it is interesting to hear the comments and questions. As I have listened, I listed some of the comments that I have heard, and have compiled them below:
5. Is there an empty room where we can meet?
If you have walked the halls during school hours, you have quickly noticed that every room is packed all day long. With the exception of two grades, we are within 2-3 kids of capacity in every class, with several completely full. This is a wonderful problem to have, of course, but it can be a problem nonetheless. The school year is intentionally front-loaded with meetings. From Golf Committee to Library Volunteers to Parent Prayer we have a group of people each day who are looking for a place to simply sit quietly and meet. Even my 8th grade boys small group was homeless Tuesday morning! Fortunately, our wonderful friends at Harvest have offered space for our morning meetings as needed. By the way, I cannot express how grateful I am for the godly leadership at Harvest. What a blessing to partner with folks who daily exhibit the humble sacrificial love of Christ!
4. Whoa, look at the size of that lizard!
Most of you know that we are renting four classrooms from the City of Hickory at the Neill Clark Recreation Center. Again, this is a tremendous blessing. The 70 students in 6th and 7th grade could have been across town, or in a church basement somewhere (which would have been fine if God had chosen that plan for us), but we were able to have a space for them just 150 yards from the main building. For those who have been with the school for more than seven years, you know what I am talking about when I say that we are blessed to be able to walk between locations. We have certainly seen the other side of that in the past.
Since the Neill Clark facility has not been used for daily classrooms in decades, there are all sorts of surprises up there. The rooms had to be completely renovated this summer. The air conditioning has been sporadic at best. There are only two outlets per classroom, which seems archaic in today’s electronic age. And, there is a significant lizard population living on campus. I caught one of the little critters just before school began, and took him home to my little boy, who has a lizard house. Of course, as lizards do, it dropped its tail as a defense, so we called him Stumpy.
Rumor has it that there are some big ones that make an appearance on the outside wall. The 6th grade boys are excited about the prospect of a home-grown class pet, but I don’t think the teachers share their enthusiasm…yet.
3. Wow! The kitchen looks great!
When the school building was completed seven years ago, we chose not to complete the kitchen in order to save costs. Over time, the kitchen had become the main storage room for extra tables, chairs, barbecue grills, and Christmas decorations. The only intended function that it was fulfilling was the sink to rinse our lunchroom table cleaning rags. Last Spring, the board decided it was time to finish the kitchen. While it has been an expensive project, it is exciting to finally see an actual kitchen take shape, with appliances and all.
We will be able to use the kitchen for game concessions, school events (like the New Family Picnic and the Christmas Show), school family gatherings, and maybe even high school elective classes in the future. The church will also have access to the kitchen for their own social gatherings, weddings, etc. While we do not plan to do traditional daily school lunch (like fish sticks and beans), we may also be able to develop additional options for lunches, like a salad bar, potato bar, etc. in the years to come. The bottom line is that the finished kitchen has been a long time coming, and we are thrilled that we will be able to use it soon (hopefully in a few weeks).
2. You should have thought of the alphabetical pickup years ago.
Yes. This has been the most highly acclaimed administrative decision of the year so far (not sure what that says about us…). Most of you are used to the mile-long line and angry neighbors from years past. By splitting the afternoon traffic in half, we have probably only blocked the through-traffic a total of 5 minutes in the first week. The parents are happy, the neighbors are happy, the traffic cop at the road is happy…all God’s children are happy!
Unfortunately, the alphabetical plan is only in effect through August, so we will see what happens after that. As always, traffic will continue to smooth out as the school year progresses, but we have never begun with this efficiency, so I hope it is a foreshadowing of good things to come. If we are up to our nostrils in exhaust fumes again next week, we might just stick with the plan (or one like it) long-term.
One thing I will add is that HCA parent drivers are the sweetest people behind the wheel that I have ever seen. There is no road rage in the school parking lot! Even without my skillful traffic directing, you guys are quick to allow each other to enter the line and keep the road clear. Even in the parking lot, we can be representatives of the love of Christ to those around us. I am proud to say that you do afternoon pickup like Jesus would have, if He had driven a mini-van.
1. How can I pray for you?
I am always amazed and humbled by the number of people who tell me that they are praying for me. If the prayers of the righteous can accomplish much (James 5:16), and if we can do all things through Christ, Who gives us strength (Phil. 4:13), then it makes alot of sense to plead with Jesus for our success. Many of our parents understand this concept, and have committed themselves to prayer, knowing that that has been the secret to our prosperity all along.
This week, we had our first “Monday Morning Prayer Group” in the library. This group has been led by Karen Tysinger and Laura Irlbeck for the past couple years. I am so grateful to these ladies for their commitment to prayer over HCA. On Monday, we had a number of moms and dads show up to start off the week in prayer. That afternoon, we received the following email from one of the parents. I have removed all the names so that the focus is on the power of prayer, and not the individuals.
I wanted to share something with you about “Monday Morning Prayer” at HCA.First Mondays are my busiest day of the week (BUT as you know we all do find the time to do what we want to do or that which is important to us) and I was thinking that it would be right to be there today, to give what I can in prayer.Well, I just have to tell you I got and did not give, I was so BLESSED to get to listen in on all those conversations with God. I’m big into prayer BUT boy was I revived, charged up when I left today’s (“Monday Morning Prayer for our school”), having such an eternal perspective on the remainder of the day.It was very encouraging to listen and learn that ALL those present today really know how to pray authentic and accurate. I mean it’s great to learn more good about our school, that we are bathed with the kind of praying God honors and listens too.Again it was such a gift to me you all gave today to just sit in that intentional time to knock the enemy back. (they hate it when we pray, I mean we can go to church and play the game, wear a mask…. but today’s kind of praying demons HATE)In short, I am thankful for what I received today from you all.Thank you very much for the invitation.Ok one more thing to praise Him about.Today, day 3 of school mind you, I got a phone call from my daughter’s second grade teacher. I wish I could type as fast as I can think right now. I have so much good I want to say, but it blew me away that a school teacher would make the time to make sure all was going well with her student and my wife and I!!!!Maybe I’m just dreaming, (can I insert here that that does not happen in our public schools today).
I am so thankful to God, and to you all, that all my children are part of the family at HCA.
This parent understands that prayer is the power source behind a great movement of God in lives, communities, or schools. Thanks to all who showed up Monday morning, and to all who are faithful in prayer at home throughout the week. Our vision, energy, and passion for your children are the direct result of the time your spend on your knees before the Father.
HCA is a very special place because the Lord has filled it with very special people. Each of you are a vital part of what happens here each day. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of our children through your faithfulness to the Kingdom of God.
Welcome back. Call me if you need anything this year. Here we go…