Happiness and Relationships
In a weekly devotion, Mr. Danish discussed the three things parents most desired in their child’s school: safety, opportunity and happiness, and how we meet those needs for God’s glory. This blog is the third in a series about what parents most look for in their children’s school experience, and how ICS exceeds those needs.
The Bible has a lot to say about happiness.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? For to the one who pleases Him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is a vanity and a striving after the wind.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
As these verses indicate, happiness has an awful lot to do with other feelings. Love. Trust. Peace. Fulfillment. Further, they tell us that our joy is tied up not only in these feelings, but who we feel them for: God. Ultimately, He is the only way we are able to achieve true, lasting happiness in the midst of the muddled mess that our lives often are.
At ICS we strive to show students the realness and closeness of God. It is easy to memorize the Sunday school answers about how God is love. How Jesus died for us. How we are sinners, and on and on. Our primary goal, however, is to have students leave this building after they graduate not simply with the answers down pat. We want them to gain the understanding in their hearts that, come the loss of a loved one, or a bad grade, or a disappointment on the football field, they can still be glad and have hope in the knowledge that even though we are sinners, someone loved us enough to rescue us despite rarely deserving it. We hope to instill this peace in their hearts through scripture but also through the relationships students build here.
Harvard has conducted the longest study on happiness to date. For 75 years, they have researched the medical records and interviewed the families of hundreds of men, from young adulthood into death, to see who, at the end of their days, considered themselves to be happy. To check out a Ted Talk on the study, click here. The research found that the happiest people are the ones who have good relationships. God designed us for relationships. He wants us to know Him and His Son, but he also wants us to know each other and to show His love to one another. At ICS, we value relationships—between our students and God, within our families, and within our building.
Kelley Pinzon is mom to ICS second grader Lucas and ICS graduate Nico. Below she describes, in her own words, her boys’ experiences at ICS:
We had looked at schools closer to our home even though we attended Immanuel. Even after putting the deposit down on one of the schools, we learned more about their curriculum and decided ICS was a better fit because:
1. ICS has more hands-on teaching. Being the parents of athletic, active boys, sitting still at a desk filling out worksheets wasn’t ideal.
2. The amount of schoolwork was appropriate for students at a kindergarten level.
That was why we fell in love with Immanuel. I loved the dynamic centers they do in kindergarten and even into first grade. With Mrs. Shondelmyer, for example, to study the color brown in kindergarten, they made chocolate pudding!
We stayed even when families we knew chose public school for the character-based teaching. It’s wonderful that the teachers are so open to parent participation, whereas a lot of other Christian schools are not. At ICS, you’re welcomed on campus or to have lunch with your child.
The biggest thing that the Christian teachers here bring to the classroom is the love of God; the understanding that each child is individually made and loving them for the way they are made, while molding them.
All children need discipline, but it’s Christ centered discipline. Correction with love, understanding that there is forgiveness when something happens. We forgive because God forgives us.
As parents, you could have chosen ICS because it’s convenient to your house, brimming with after-school extracurriculars, or challenging classes. But what we hear, time and time again, is that like Kelley, parents choose us because of the relationships. The staff is warm and welcoming. The teachers take extra time with each student not to make sure they pass the test, but because they care about the student learning the material and feeling valued. You will never walk through the halls of ICS after hours without seeing the light still on in a classroom, as a teacher works overtime with students to make sure they grasp the content.
We are realistic about the fact that not all kids are happy about waking up for school each day. To those kids we say: Congrats! You are already halfway to summer! But also say this: even if school just isn’t your thing, we put a high price on your happiness here. We believe that strong relationships foster academic success and overall contentment, particularly the relationship between each student and our God. We work to model this as a school body by fostering good relationships amongst teachers, between teachers and parents, between teachers and students, and amongst classmates.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
To find out more about how ICS is inspiring purposeful lives click here.