Jody Carrington will say that you need to sit at the Winner’s table, Jon Gordon will invite you to check who is on your bus, and the Bible encourages us to join together and support each other as Christians. Regardless of how it is being said, the theme is clear - Know who is in your circle and choose wisely.
This idea has been percolating in my mind a lot lately. My husband and I are currently registering our little girl for kindergarten. The decision of which school to attend started a few years ago already, but the answer is clear when we think about who we want alongside us to help guide and support our little girl. We want individuals who will accept her, encourage her, and speak God’s love into her life. We want Menno families and Menno staff in our village.
Over the break, I had the opportunity to read the book, “The Energy Bus” by Jon Gordon. While this book is not directly related to school, it definitely applies to all the different areas in your personal or professional life. It focuses on the idea that positive thinking and positive energy is what leads to success and we get our energy from the people around us. “Because thoughts are magnetic. What we think about, we attract. What we think about expands and grows. What we put our energy and attention on starts to show up more in our life” (Gordon, p. 42). Each one of us are the drivers of our bus and we get to decide who to invite on our journey with us and where we want to go.
This idea isn’t new. We find this instruction given multiple times throughout the Bible. As followers of Christ, we are called to worship together, to support each other, and to help equip each other with wisdom and God’s love. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” This doesn’t mean that our days will always be full of joy and that life won’t throw some setbacks our way. We know there will be moments or events around us that don’t go as planned. But despite how things are portrayed in the media or negative experiences that we may face, can we hold each other accountable and encourage each other to stay strong in God’s promises? Can we inspire one another to love, forgive, and do good deeds?
At Menno, we connect this to our PEACEMAKERS acronym. The way we connect with each other, serve our community, and respond to each other in times of conflict are always connected to the words in that acronym. Are we being kind? Encouraging? A mentor? A participant? Are we being Christ-like? In the gym, it might be a teacher walking a student through how to be a team player or a coach leading a team in devotions as they learn how to support each other. In the classroom, it might be a listening ear as students share prayer requests or struggles they had on the playground. At the office, it’s a smile as you come for yet another disposable fork or a hug as you receive a bandaid or ice pack. Sometimes, it’s even a pause in a Community Builders meeting to pray over someone who needs a little encouragement in that moment. Jody Carrington will often say, “We’re all just walking each other home.” What a beautiful image.
I am encouraged every day as I walk the halls and spend time in classrooms. I know that I have the best people on my bus. I am excited at the idea of also joining this community as a parent next year. Good things are happening in our little school. I invite you to travel alongside us - jump on our bus and see what we are up to, be involved in your child’s learning, and join us at school events. Most importantly, I invite you to take those opportunities to support each other and respond to each situation from a place of love, mercy, and empathy. I’m so excited to have you on our bus! Together we can, “have fun and enjoy the ride,” (Gordon, p. 143).
Dayle Vienneau, MSCS Principal