I believe there’s never been a more difficult time to be a teen. Societal polarization. A technological revolution. Covid. Anxiety and depression in record numbers. New addictive substances in slick packaging targeting teens.
It’s a high school experience so different from generations past, that the adults in teens’ lives cannot fully relate.
For these reasons, I believe there’s never been a more important time for an Anabaptist education.
In our relatively small school, we are able to celebrate each student’s inherent worth, and teach them about lives of purpose and meaning (Jeremiah 29:11). We use restorative practices and challenge students to realize that life is not just about “me,” but about serving others.
Students will tell you that one of my favorite phrases is: “I am somebody.” I want students to remember “I am somebody” when they think,”Somebody should do something about that.” More importantly, I want them to remember “I am somebody” if they fall into feelings of worthlessness.
I make it a point to greet each high school student by name as they come into school each day. It’s one way I help to foster a culture of belonging and remind each student that they are “somebody.”
I am grateful to be part of the work at EMS to feed “the good” that is in each of our students. I wish every parent, community member, and alumnus could follow me throughout a day and feel the hope I have, despite the complexities these students face.
And maybe you would come away from that experience saying, like I do, “Somebody should tell society about the hope that is found in our younger generation.”