The Little Things

by Renee Doyle

January has been especially busy at our emerging K-12 classical school. It is the month when staff members use vacation time, might be out with a winter cold or attend conferences. With a limited employee pool, we all become versatile at covering for one another’s classes. Last week, I had the opportunity to teach art, P.E. and Latin. Such a diversified teaching schedule in both subject and time slots is challenging, but the reward from interacting with our students is priceless.

Our students are much like other students in that they care about: their appearance, their friends, their outside interests and even their grades, homework and responsibilities. But I noticed several things—the little things—about our students that make them much different from today’s norm.

While loading up on the bus to go to Archery practice for P.E., I heard the students thanking the bus driver as they got on and off. I know we remind our students to say “thank you” to their teachers and others, but it was a sweet sound and a lovely feeling to see the expression on the bus driver’s face. I don’t think she was used to being thanked, and she was smiling when we pulled away from the curb. This might have been a little thing, but the Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 that we are supposed to “give thanks in all circumstances.” How can we learn to give thanks when things are not going well if we are not in a habit of giving thanks all the time?

When we got to the archery range, it was closed due to a scheduling mix-up, and all that archery terminology and bow-type information that I had been learning to impress the students with went right out the window. I had to swiftly figure out what I was going to do with forty students on a bus to nowhere, so we went to the city park.

The city park has a lovely skating rink right next to the playground equipment. I mean right next to it. And the water run over from the rink had spilled over to make another ice pond beside it. Where do you think that students would most likely go when the bus door opens? Yes, that is what I thought, too, so I told them to stay away from the rink and the pond with no exceptions. They could only play on the equipment or toss the football in the park area.

I went to talk to the bus driver for a minute, and when I turned around to look back at the students, there they were, about a dozen of them all standing around a patch of ice looking at the football sitting squarely in the middle of it. It wasn’t more than five feet in from any of them, and even though their boots were right at the edge, they were not on the ice. As much as they wanted to resume their game, they remained obedient to my words. I went over and got the ball for them. It might be a little thing, but not one of them disobeyed the directive and no one got hurt. In Noah’s case, his obedience in building the ark saved the entire human race.

One of the young boys came running up to me and held out his hand. He said, “Someone must be very sad that they lost this dime. Do you think we can find the person who lost it?” I told him that he could keep it, because there was no way to know who lost it or how long it had been in the park. This might have seemed like a little thing, but he knew the dime did not belong to him, and if possible, it was his responsibility to return it to its owner. The Bible says in Luke 16:10, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” I suspect that the Lord will entrust this young man with much in his life.

These three experiences, in less than two hours, taught me much. They made my heart burst with pride. Our students are learning a radical way to live – thankful, obedient and honorable.  I cherish every moment with our students and I am even more convinced that an education including Christ and character is not a little thing.

Renee Doyle has been the Headmaster at Genesis Classical Academy since its founding in 2015. Genesis Classical Academy is located in Winnebago, MN and is a public charity. It is the goal of GCA that no child be turned away for financial reasons.