Recently, I’ve been hearing back from schools and amidst the support and congratulations, many people have been asking me Why?
I guess I’ve shared bits and pieces of my smatterings of ideas for the future, but perhaps it would be good for both you (plural) and me to have it all laid out here.
First of all, my desire as a sinner redeemed by God’s grace is to be used by God in any capacity* and namely to tell others about Him. I believe this act of “telling” however goes beyond simply sharing with people about the truth and the basics of Christian faith, but needs to be balanced by a life that’s truly been changed by the Gospel (the news of Christian salvation).
With that said, I think there are many ways I could have done this, and initially, all I wanted to do was pursue English literature and become some sort of educator (either in high school or community college). I figured I could combine my loves for literature and people and serve God in this way. During my year in Taipei however, I began reading Tim Keller’s Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road, which inspired me to do more than simply live as a Christian. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with living a simple life and following God, but I felt that with my interests, desires, and current life stage, I did have more that I could give. Tim Keller not only gave a biblical foundation for our duty as Christians to both speak and act, but he drew a picture of the economic and social state of urban America and provided practical steps of implementation. Until then, I wasn’t sure how I could use “charity” to do more than simply address temporary physical needs. Keller’s book definitely got my brain juices churning.
I literally spent one day doodling on a sheet of paper of ideas I could personally do. I recalled my own days in 6th grade, when I was in independent study, and began to think of ways where I could tweak independent study, incorporate classical learning methods and hybrid schooling ideas, and “sophisticate” it or give it an urban spin. I thought maybe I could start something in the Bay Area that would give families the ability to have a larger say in what their children are taught. I thought that people at my church would appreciate this (home-schooling minus the lesson plan work and the stigma) and that “Bay-Areans” in general would support a public/private alternative, especially with stay-at-home and part-time parents on the rise. I thought. I thought. I thought a lot. (Although this clip always cracks me up, this is not what I have in mind.)
Also around this time, to address my homesickness during my random bouts of free time (bus rides, teaching breaks, rainy days), I began to read the news more. Specifically, I began following BBC’s coverage on the UN Millennial goals progress in Bangladesh, and began to think again of what I personally could do. [Answer: self-sustaining school that would be connected to my alternative school and initially supported by it].
Basically, I have a lot of ideas. And to achieve these, I wanted to earn an M.A. Technically, I could “start a school” with nothing – after all, it is sort of like opening a business. But, I recognize that there is much room for growth, and that I do want to establish the legitimacy of what I want to begin. Finally, along the road to these dreams, earning a credential and M.A. degree will also open doors for me to find jobs in general. I love teaching. I do. So in the end, if plans change, I can at least teach… and to have that as my “last resort” is frankly wonderful.
I love plans, and I desire to always dream big. There is so much liberty and freedom in God’s will and with the knowledge that He is larger than I can ever fathom (He is God after all), I plan to follow one teacher’s advice to “write your plans in pencil, and give God the eraser.”