Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Taking the Road MORE Traveled

This fall will be the first time since 2002 our kids won’t be taking classes at Living Science. We’ve been praying and considering this decision for almost a year.

Will graduated. Most all of Anna’s friends in her class are moving on to other schools. We’re working to simplify Matthew’s class load, given his struggles in school. Ceil has been running herself ragged these past few years trying to help Matthew keep his schoolwork current, while working two days a week at the schools to help with tuition. Even then it’s been a financial struggle.

Anna would’ve been encouraged to enter the wonderful (but time-consuming) Servant Leader program. The experience Will gained as a SL was great, though it often conflicted with other activities, particularly baseball. Servant Leaders are expected to place the numerous Living Science commitments ahead of all others. Over the years this has been a continuous source of frustration for many students and their parents. Will had invested so much love and sweat to the program that he never considered leaving, despite several senior year frustrations.

Since Anna is just starting out, her decision is easier. She’s interested in a wide variety of activities, like ballet, tap, art, reading, baby-sitting, pet-sitting, and cross-country. In past years Anna’s been so busy she’s struggled to finish schoolwork. She’s not neglecting her spiritual development, being active in her small group at North Point and the East Cobb Presbyterian youth group. This year she’s teaching Sunday School for the first time, and she was the first our children to be baptized (on her own initiative). Since Margaret and Emily are a year older, they are unfortunately involved in different activities than Anna.

Living Science may still be the best long-term option for Matthew. He has a few friends there, though some of his have also moved away. He wants to play the guitar…eventually he could join Josiah in Living Sound. For now Matthew needs to make progress in his schoolwork.

Next spring we’ll again consider what our best education options are. Our decision to take this school year off has everything to do with our own unique family situation, and very little to do with what’s gone on at Living Science over the past year. We had pretty much made this decision last fall. We certainly haven’t closed the door on Living Science. The mountain of LS T-shirts we’ve accumulated over the years are still taking up space in our house. We still have many good friends there. I’ve loved chaperoning the expeditions and retreats, and helping write and produce the expedition skit. Mrs. D rarely seeds control of valuable retreat time blocks to others (especially for non-serious activities), but I’ve earned a place within sight of her inner circle. For that I am grateful.

The D’s seem to take it personally when a family leaves. They want to know why, and find it hard to understand that others have different priorities than them. Part of is surely their deep involvement and love for Living Science, and their desire to minister to the hearts and minds of the students. As the founders and directors they are certainly entitled to make whatever decisions they wish. Most of the directions they take are certainly understandable, however unpopular they seem (or how unfortunate they may turn out).

It’s been comforting to know we’re not alone in this conundrum. Over the years many active Living Science families have faced the same decisions. Several have moved on, though several other families have stuck it out, considering the benefits to outweigh the disadvantages. We see and appreciate the Godly focus at Living Science. It’s a road less traveled, certainly worthwhile, unique in north Atlanta.

For some reason I often feel compelled to explain decisions I make. More often than not, most are between me and God. Perhaps writing it out helps me work things out in my mind, though I feel my writing does not fully convey the whole story. Sharing invites others to offer their opinions. In the end, Ceil and I must ourselves decide. It's been a great ride.

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