Lutheran Schools: My Family

Every year when Zoe starts school I get a bit emotional. This is not really because she is starting another year of school. This year she is going full days which is fantastic news because of the baby on the way. I am elated that she will be having fun all day at school, I'm not the greatest entertainer at 8-9 months pregnant or with a newborn. The reason I get emotional is because she is attending Lutheran school. Lutheran schools have shaped my life probably more than anything else. I know I have written about this in the past but it never hurts to tell the story.

My parents decided to send me to a Lutheran school from an advertisement they saw in the paper. They were not regular church goers, not Lutheran, they just needed a preschool. Thanks to my preschool teacher, they started attending church and became VERY involved. My mom ended up working in the school as a before and after school childcare employee. This put me at school ALL the time. I was at school from 6:00AM to 5:00PM. St. John's Lutheran School in Arnold, MO was my home. I spent all of my time there. My parents were friends with the teachers. I would help the teachers in their rooms because I got bored from being in childcare all the time. There was even a summer where my mom helped work a summer childcare program there. I was ALWAYS there. I was putting up bulletin boards, helping sweep and clean chalkboards (back when we used those). This was my safe place. We moved to Cincinnati, OH and had a similar experience at our church and school there.

It didn't stop with my mom just working there. Both of my parents volunteered. When the chicken dinner, sausage dinner and church picnic rolled around, my family was there with other families. The kids played and the adults worked. I saw my parents have all kinds of fun with the other parents. It was not just friends, it was family.

I attended a Catholic high school in Cincinnati, OH because there were no Lutheran High Schools in the area. I went on to attend Concordia University Wisconsin which is an LCMS college just north of Milwaukee, WI. I went to become a Lutheran school teacher, after all Lutheran school was my life and Lutheran school was how I knew Jesus. Of course I am going to continue that life. The choice to go to CUW was one of the best I had in my life. My professors were some of the most caring, loving and hilarious people I've ever met. I still keep in touch with a handful of them 10 years later and they still care, or at give me their time to update them on my life. Yes, it was expensive and I had loans, but I would not in my life say that I wasted a penny on that education.

When Nate and I started dating, I mentioned  to him that I wanted (needed) our kids to attend Lutheran grade school and if the opportunity arose, also Lutheran high school. I don't send my kids to Lutheran school because I am the pastor's wife. I send my kids to Lutheran schools because they made me who I am.

Because of Lutheran schools:

  • I love and know Jesus
  • My manners are top-notch.
  • I was well prepared academically for high school or college.
  • I know what it means to work hard in your profession, I watched my teachers every day.
  • I attended Lutheran college and married my husband.
  • I ended up in the wonderful town of Hoyleton.
  • I have a built in family for myself and my children.
  • I don't have to worry about my kids at school because I know their teachers care deeply.
  • I have a network of friends (family) all over the country.
  • I keep in touch with my teachers from years ago. My second grade teacher attended my wedding. 
  • I attended Lutheran camp which was one of the best experiences for my faith.
I could go on forever because Lutheran schools shaped my entire life.

The thing that kills me these days are the ways our Lutheran schools are struggling. They struggle financially because education costs a lot. They struggle financially because they want to provide healthcare for their teachers and it is an astronomical cost. They struggle because people love to gossip. They struggle because making the sacrifice to pay tuition is not an easy choice to make and sometimes not possible without financial aid. They struggle because the devil likes to attack the work of the Lord. 

Despite the struggles, they are still a place that teaches the word of the Lord and prepares students for their long term academic career. They still produce smiles on students and teachers. They still produce quality students who become leaders in our communities and churches. They have wonderful, caring and qualified teachers. These schools are doing an excellent job.

So why do I love Lutheran schools? They are my family.

That's all for now. God is good.