Recently the high school I graduated from (Seattle Christian High School) asked me to write an article for their quarterly publication. Thought I’d share it here as well.
In the mid 1980’s Mr. (Dean) Smith was teaching science in the science lab, Mrs. (Jan) Klerekoper was teaching music in the portable, and Mrs. (Lloydine) Linman worked in the school office. I think she’s still there? We actually had a class in the 80’s teaching high-school students the skill of typing. Ronald Regan was president, people were wearing parachute pants (don’t ask), Back to the Future and Footloose (the Kevin Bacon one) were new movies, & Michael Jackson released the album Thriller.
Navigating the mid-80’s at Seattle Christian was both challenging and informative. There are values that I learned in my time at SCS that helped me develop into the man I am today. Here are seven of the values I learned at Seattle Christian in the 80’s that still apply today:
- The Value of a relationship with Jesus Christ
One of the first things I leaned is that not all students at a Christian School are Christians. Initially this confused me. As time went by I understood that as a Christ follower it was not only my responsibility to live in a way that was honoring to Christ, but also share the love of Jesus Christ with my classmates. In higher education and business, not everyone we’re with has the same belief structure we have. As Christians we need to represent and share Christ in a way that is honoring and inclusive not confusing and judgmental.
How do you share Christ with your friends & co-workers?
- The Value of education
As much as the classes I attended at Seattle Christian prepared me for my next steps, the education I received outside the classroom prepared me for life. After graduating from Seattle Christian I completed my Bachelors Degree in Business at Seattle Pacific University and my Masters Degree from Seattle University. In every learning environment I tend to grow more from experiences with the people in my class and then applying these newly formed experiences to my life. I think every teacher would agree that taking what we learn in class and applying it to life is the key to a solid education. As a life-long-learner I believe that we’re always learning all the time.
What is the best way you learn?
- The Value of honoring my parents
My parents sacrificed greatly to send their four children to private school. We didn’t attend private school because we had a lot of money. We had the privilege of going to a private school because my parents held Christian education as a high value for our family. As a result, I watched them sacrifice and go without so my sister, two brothers, & I could attend Seattle Christian. As a father…I get it. Just like my parents, I would do anything to provide the best possible for my children. My parents were honoring me by providing a solid-Christian education and I’m striving to provide the same values for my kids.
When was the last time you said Thank You to your parents?
- The Value of connecting in a local church
I attended school at Seattle Christian and went to church at New Life Church. I developed strong friendships at both school and church. Our family didn’t just attend church but we served at our church. My parents instilled the value of creating the environments at church rather than being consumers. I knew that my faith was being influenced at Seattle Christian and I’m grateful that my faith was also being formed at my local church. It was a partnership between the two organizations. Church is not a building we go to, it’s a community of believers that help us grow in our faith.
How do you serve at your church?
- The Value of showing grace to others
Near the end of my senior year at Seattle Christian I made a huge mistake. I was having a bad day and, out of character, I snapped and yelled at Mrs. Klerekoper in front of a bunch of students. I instantly knew I was in big trouble when she cleared the room to finish our conversation. I deserved to be punished for the disrespect I showed her that day. The level of grace she showed me by understanding where I was at and how that was not my character helped me as an adult give the same grace to others who have wronged me. Showing grace to those who don’t “deserve” it gives you the opportunity to influence them at a vulnerable time in their life. Don’t miss your opportunity to show grace to others.
When was the last time you showed grace on someone?
- The Value of serving our community
Seattle Christian in the 80’s taught us to not only serve our community but also minister to our world. With this value deep in my core, I recently received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and completed an educational film on homelessness and serving. The film, Time to Listen, is honest stories of six people who are currently homeless. This film launched the organization, Change Homelessness. Our desire at Change Homelessness is to challenge people to engage in serving their community. Whatever the cause or issue you’re serving, find the area of greatest need in your community and serve. For more about Change Homelessness go to: www.changehomelessnes.com
Where are you serving?
- The Value of finishing strong
As a high-school student there were times I thought I’d never finish. Classes, papers, and presentations tended to cloud my mind and loose focus. I remember one of my teachers challenging me early on to finish strong. They didn’t just encourage me to finish, but finish strong. As I continued through life in education, marriage, and ministry this value keeps showing up. When frustrated, how do you finish? When in conflict, how do you finish? And, when you loose your job, how do you finish? I’ve been frustrated, in conflict, and lost my job. The way I finished each situation determined my success in my next opportunity.
What are ways that you need to Finish Strong?
Seattle Christian exists to proclaim Jesus Christ in all aspects of their program, emphasizing academic excellence and biblical Christian values, partnering with parents and the church to prepare Godly young men and women so that they may impact their world for Christ. For this student who graduated in 1986, Seattle Christian accomplished their mission. Thank You!