The Middle School Philosophy - Look Down, Look Around, Step Up

It is no secret that people can be and behave selfishly. In fact, it is the default setting for all of us, since our first parents, Adam and Eve, decided to focus on themselves and their immediate desires, instead of what God had said would be both good, and good for them.

LD-LA-SU (see above) seeks to provide an easily memorable framework of thought to help our young people think like followers of Jesus. This can be very difficult in the United States, which has an intense focus on “rights”, i.e. what people owe to me. The Bible speaks from a very different perspective. In His Word, God places His focus and ours on our “responsibilities”, i.e. what we owe to others.

We are asking our middle-school students to look down, that is, to look for people who are “lower” than they are - by size, by age, by skill level, by status - and to ask the question: “what are my responsibilities to these people?” Perhaps the most obvious example of this kind of thinking would be to carefully notice where our Preschoolers and Little Learners (two year olds) are, and to make sure we don’t step on them or knock them over.

We are asking our middle-school students to look around, at their peer group, and to ask “what are my responsibilities to these people?” This could include helping a classmate who doesn’t yet understand a concept, reaching out to a peer who hasn’t yet been included in the recess activities, or noticing that someone in their area is obviously having a sad day, and reaching out to them in compassion and kindness.

Finally, we encourage our middle-school students to step up, not only to ask God for guidance, self-control, and courage, but to remind ourselves of how much Jesus gave when He took the responsibility of dying for the sins of the world. In short, Jesus took responsibility for all of us, instead of focusing on what was rightfully His (see Philippians 2:1-8). God has called us to have the same attitude as Jesus.

The benefits of such Biblical thinking are many: our children will get along with each other much more consistently; each of our children will be surrounded by a group of concerned, caring individuals at all times, and they will get excellent practice at both thinking and behaving as Christian people. This will provide outstanding practice for their later years, as they assume leadership roles, the most important of which (my opinion), is when they become mothers and fathers.

-By Principal Brian Ryherd