As a part of the 2016 National Lutheran Schools Week, members of our ILS faculty shared reflections on the theme of Life Together in Christ. Each focused on the different parts of our "life together" as we play together, serve together, pray together and learn together. In today's reflection, Upper School Lead Teacher Ms. Kramer shares insights on serving together at ILS.
Serve Together - Ms. Kramer
As they mature, ILS students are being trusted with more and more responsibility throughout the school: patrol, helping younger grades at chapel, other forms of chapel service, running the Talent Show, developing the culture of the school through our house systems. And there are countless other ways students serve without programs: I can think of two 4th grade students who scan the blacktop and playground every day for left-over trash without being asked, or students who jump at the chance to help a teacher with tasks. We take service seriously at Immanuel, because we are becoming who we are meant to be: members of community, people who will love and care for one another. Is there any more meaningful way to be an image bearer of Christ?
All of the service jobs at our school are unrequired, but once a student commits, they are expected to honor the commitment. We hope this encourages the growth of personal responsibility! As a student, you don’t have to run for house captain, but if you do, you are in charge of your house, and it requires work both in and out of school. If you serve on patrol, you commit to arrive early or stay late for an entire year when called upon.
Service is also a way that our students learn to work and move in community. They are responsible for each other, and need to work together. I was impressed a few weeks ago when a student came to me during his scheduled week on patrol, and said that he’d have to be tardy one morning for a doctor’s appointment. The student had already found his own replacement and wrote a note to me and the other student as a reminder. Wow! Without the commitment of Patrol, that young man would not have even had the opportunity to demonstrate such forethought or responsibility. While it’s not a perfect process by any stretch, it is a learning opportunity. It is formative. When a student misses a service commitment, we talk about it together. When a student does an exemplary job, we talk about it. Service is not disconnected from our school’s culture, or simply a number of hours to be accrued, but something that is hopefully more natural, while still intentional. It is a habit, a shaping and molding practice that helps our students develop into the wonderful young men and women that they are becoming. I am so humbled and honored to watch their growth!