Saturday, July 28, 2007

Being of Service

School will be starting up soon and I'm excited. In fact, I will be teaching a group of students for a week before the official start. A sort of jump start, helping a score of kids make the transition from elementary to middle school.

I am interested in service learning. I have had several projects which encourage kids to see real world problems, discover real world solutions, and make connections to their community.

Service learning is distinguished from community service in that it is a teaching strategy, not just a student activity. We are making connections between curriculum and the community. Kids need to feel they are apart of their community as they learn how to read, write, understand maps and charts and math and all the other elements of their education.

My wife and I used to watch Little House on the Prairie regularly. Aside from stories about family, faith, and community, it showed kids being a part of their running their farm, connected to their neighbors and friends in tangible ways.

There was a time when kids had clear roles in their society. They did what work they could do, from collecting eggs to helping Pa with the plowing, they pulled their weight.

Today kids haven’t such clear roles. Many fall into believing that a childhood is what they are about. Oh, and school... that too.

Service learning is getting kids involved in filling community needs while they learn lessons of researching, writing, math, and science.

The idea of service has changed over time.

We demand service from merchants. We need this product, or assistance with that, or dang it, shorter lines at the check out counter. I notice the demanding attitude of my fellow shoppers. An arrogant demander of services is an embarrassing role for someone to take. Not when we are really eternal beings created by a humble king.

I often see parents who are demanding more for their children (which is sometimes the right thing to do, sometimes it isn’t). I once had a parent come in with a lawyer and tell me I planted evidence of her child littering to give the student a lunch detention, just to be mean. A lawyer!

The primary goal is for students to learn. The secondary goal is in creating the connection between students and their communities.

There are a lot of negative connotations about service. There’s community service, often court mandated, or just something to be plugged in a resume. Sub-servience roles are held as low status positions, butlers and maids and gardeners and handymen. Hierarchy of authority. Echoes of bondage and slavery.

Nothing wrong in serving.

God serves Man.

"He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
" Colossians 1:17

He has arranged the universe so that prayer moves His hand.

"Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." James 5:14-16

Jesus, my Lord, was the servant to those he met... kneeling in the dirt to help the fallen, washing feet, preparing meals... even to the point of offering...

"He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth." Acts 8:32

He is a being of service.

I see helping students to see themselves as part of a community, as citizens who offer service to those in need, as a way of promoting the underlying principles of my faith.

I have many projects in mind this year. Projects which will connect children to our community, and in learning to solve the problems, move the barriers, avoid the obstacles, they will learn about research and writing and math and geography and science. They will see that learning is not what happens in a classroom but is the natural path of mental growth for all people of any age.

There is another aspect of serving which is good for people, at least it has been good for me.

A few years ago my pastor spoke about service and I realized that if God Himself could serve us, could hold the universe together so we may have a place to make our own choices, even to reject Him, then who am I to see serving as beneath me?

When I am asked to do something I try to see if I can do it. Period. I quickly assess if it interferes with what is good for my family, my wife, my children, and if it doesn't, I do it without complaint.

So there you have it. That is the reason behind the second part of my online moniker. I am Curious Servant because that is what He made me to be. I want to be of service.

This blog has various purposes. It permits me to think through the struggles in my life, to explore the challenges I face.

But I like to think it is also about helping others. That includes you. Yes, you who are reading this post from perhaps a half a world away.

What is it you need? Do you need prayer? Do you need help in some way?

I belong to my Lord, but I am your servant as well.

God bless.


Terry said...

Dear Curious servant..
I am not sure that I am a half a world away , maybe just a quarter world away, I don't know but I know that it is four in the morning here and I just got up for a glass of water and here I have just read your excellemt post and what a nice message to start the Lord's day with!

Your blog IS about helping others. I have always found it so.
I have even met some nice people because of your blog, like Felisol and Judas Hate.

Even thougth the Golden gang was a rambunctious lot Curious Servant, mom had roles for each one of us in the line of doing the dishes and cleaning the place from top to bottom every Saturday, and ironing the clothes[Yuk!].
Every Saturday evening she would set Betty and I lose in the kitchen, to bake to our heart's content. On that particular evening, she would say, "You girls bake and I will clean up the dishes after." She said it was a fair trade, seeing as she did not want to to do the baking!
Alas, I never DID learn how to bake a proper cake or ethat well but Betty excelled at it.
I am more for cooking up the main course...

Thanks for this good post Curious Servant.
I want to be a servant of the Lord too!

Have a blessed Lord's Day, Curious Servant... from Terry

PS..Even the boys in the family had to take their turn in washing and drying the dishes!
They did not like this role at ALL!

ame said...

wow ... yes ... i see this in you. i do need prayer, but i don't know specifically what ... you will need to let the Holy Spirit guide you ... please ... and thank you ...

curious servant said...

I will be glad to include you in my prayers, Ame. I know a little about your situation, enough to feel I can start. Prayers for you, your girls, your ex. God bless.

Judas Hate said...

Another wonderful post, my friend.

Couldn't tell from your e-mail if the pictures came through and if so, what you thought. Maybe they did and it was just me thinking they were alike and so you did not comment.

I may not be as in touch with our Lord as you, but I also am at your (and others) service for prayer and positive thought.

I shall include Ame in my prayers for now, but if you need a little extra prayer some time, you have it.

And thanks to Terry for such a nice comment. I know I am somewhat like a porcupine at times, so it is always a nice surprise when someone sees beyond that and feels a connection with or appreciation for me. A very nice gift indeed.

Be well my Brother.



Terry said...

It is true Justin!
You are not one for throwing verses at people who are hurting.
You just get to the duty at hand and that is to pray!!
Porcupine indeed!! No way!!
....from Terry..

Oh Hi Curious Servant!!

curious servant said...


Squirrel said...

Interesting post as I just filed to run for public office in my town!

Paula said...

Yes indeed! We should also be like Christ, come to serve, not be served, forgive as He forgave, love as He loved! What a wonderful idea for your students! I've come to realize that my blog might be of service to others. I hope that as I begin to teach Sunday School to 9th Grade girls, they will see me through my site as transparent, real.

Jim said...

Hey CS, imagine doing throw-down littering to a poor child!

My favorite Bible verse (one of them) is Revelation 22:3, which reads in part "... and his servants will serve him."
So we can get to like serving God now, here on earth, then we can really enjoy it in Heaven.

Jada's Gigi said...

Love your perspective on this...your heart does show through...

Lorna (see through faith) said...

thanks and blessings on you as you serve with love and with joy

Paula said...

Please visit my site today if you can and join me in prayer for CJ.

Coco said...

what an honor, to be a part of this service- helping both students and community! i've heard great things about service learning : )