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Changes, Challenges, Endurance, Blessings

The pandemic this year brought a lot of changes and challenges... social distancing, masks, intense cleaning, distance learning…. and for many people, a newfound addiction to houseplants! I was one that was drawn in by the variety and beauty of houseplants, and my collection quickly grew from one sad planter gifted by a student to a well-cared for collection nearing 40 different varieties. I’ve read up on the needs of each type and done my best to address those needs as well as possible. If I don’t, they droop, drop, and attract pests. Kind of like our students! There are the hardy students who can resiliently handle anything that comes their way and flourish in spite of it. There are the high need students that seem to wilt under the slightest adverse conditions... and everything in between. Each of my plants was designed by God to grow and flourish in its perfect environment. If I gave them all the same amount of water or the same level of light, some would thrive, but others would suffer. Our students are like that too. Given the exact same conditions, some will excel, and others will struggle. As teachers, it is our challenge and our joy to deeply know each student, to provide conditions for them to thrive, and also to provide the appropriate challenges so that their root system will become strong and deep. My plants need healthy soil to grow. Our students need a strong foundation as well -- rooted in Christ and watered with His love and grace.

As educators, you have stayed strong through a year filled with enormous challenges. You have struggled through adverse conditions and have still been the face of Christ to your students and their families. You have been asked to do more than ever before, and you have given all that you have, and sometimes beyond your own abilities. You have provided the special conditions that each special child of God needs to grow, and you have been used greatly by Jesus to do His work. Thank you.

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:5-6

Leah Tornow, Teacher, Christ Lutheran School, Cosa Mesa, CA


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