Trickle Down Stressonomics

photo (2)May is the time of year to plan for the next.  School has wrapped up, and like grocery shopping on a full stomach is wise, so it is to make next year’s decisions while the fatigue is fresh. I generally start with a vision renewal- a “wait, what was I doing in here again?” kind of reflection.  Then after a little refresher on the big picture of the glories of providing my kids with a custom-made, Christian education I feel revived to get back to the guts of it.

The process generally looks like asking myself several questions regarding the value ratio of the last year’s choices. I compare the time, effort, financial costs to the critical thinking and social-relational benefits earned. I ask my friends what they’ve learned or plan to do differently.  And I look to successful school models to tweak and borrow ideas from. One of my favorite models is Logos School in Moscow, Idaho, a classical Christian school started by a man whose principles, methods, and fruit I admire.

This year while I looked through the elementary curriculum, I took notice that this school, started by one man’s vision, is now run and operated by many other like-minded people. Even more impressive than the 6th grade literature list, is the study in good leadership that the school exemplifies.

We are all leaders in one role or another and my dad would say, “Leadership leads whether it wants to or not.” Our vision or lack of, our joy or stress, our enthusiasm or boredom will overflow and trickle down the path of least resistance- those under our care and influence.

Planning for next year, curriculum and activity choices are important, but the best cost-benefit ratio to me and my husband, children, and friends, is to spend myself on my personal holiness. M’Cheyene’s appeal to fellow pastors easily applies to anyone in a position of influence:

“Study universal holiness of life. Your whole usefulness depends on this, for your sermons last but an hour or two; your life preaches all the week. If Satan can only make a covetous minister a lover of praise, of pleasure, of good eating, he has ruined your ministry. Give yourself to prayer, and get your texts, your thoughts, your words from God.”

The best plan in the world void of God will be a waste of life and worthy of His wrath. Without gospel hope, I will carry out all plans seething with stress. I will slop this mess over onto my kids, teaching them that learning is pressurized and joy is passively had in fleeting pleasures and performances. So I must fight the right fight. That I will overflow is a given, part of how God made the world.  I can’t stop the trickle so I will fill myself with God. Through his word and prayer He will spill his blood on me and fill me with himself and then I will be blessed to spill his work on those around me.

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