Why I love the Oaks…
In this blog, I say I am addicted to my sons’ school. It’s not the Oaks Academy per-say. It’s not the building or the education or the mission I am addicted to, although those are all things I greatly appreciate. You think I am going to say it’s the people I’m addicted to, don’t you? Well, sort of. But truthfully, some of the people irritate me. After all, they don’t do what I want them to do, when I want them to do it.
Some people don’t smile at me when I smile at them. Others don’t appreciate my humor, or even give me a courtesy chuckle. The teachers give us, I mean my sons, too much homework some nights. Every once in a while, there is someone so annoying they put out the “you’re late” sign right when you pull up to the curb. And believe it or not, some people don’t agree with me that we should add navy blue to the options for uniforms. Don’t they know how hard it is to get grass stains out of khaki pants? Sure, there’s the green option, but in my humble opinion, they’re kinda dorky-looking. No offense for the green-lovers out there. Actually, dorkiness is not the only problem. They’re hard to find, outside the uniform store, where they cost twice as much and feel like they’ve been soaked in starch for 24 hours.
So what is it then? Why did I say I was addicted to their school? Simply put, it’s the love of Jesus, the love that pours out through the people – the teachers, staff, parents, even the children. I really do love these people but it is the way that love is expressed that makes me an addict…. defined as someone having a condition of being habitually or compulsively occupied with or or involved in something.
There are numerous examples, and we are but one family, but here are a few stories of exactly how this love has been manifested through the people at the Oaks.
My 2nd grader won’t go into school. He has been having major anxiety attacks and refuses to get out of the car. I go inside to tell his teacher he’ll be here but he’s having a problem in the car. She doesn’t skip a beat. She has someone cover her class and heads out to the car with me. My son has tried to hide in the third row seat. So this teacher, in her last year before retirement, opens the back of our SUV and climbs in (if you’ve ever seen our car, you KNOW this is an act of love). She is very serious, this teacher, but in that moment she leans over the back of the 3rd row, starts rubbing my son’s back and coaxes him out of the car and back into school with her. I watch them walk away in awe of her ability to calm this anxious heart of my child.
My son’s first grade teacher hugs her kids. Every day, before these students go home, she has them line up and as they proceed out the door, she gives them a love squeeze in case no one at home is there to give them appropriate adult touch.
A 3rd grade teacher asks how she can help us uncover what motivates our son. She sees his potential and it is exciting to her but she is puzzled at how to get him to use it. In the midst of these conversations, she asks how our family is doing. I tell her things at home are hard for a variety of reasons. She weeps with me and holds my hands as we pray for healing in all of these matters. Throughout the year, she prays and asks how things are and each time, she expresses her concern, tears well up in her eyes as she affirms us that God is mighty to save.
Recently, one of the staff members at school was diagnosed with leukemia. The people at the Oaks have not only written her letters and sent her gift baskets. One parent has scheduled the blood mobile to come to the school so we can make sure there will be enough blood for the transfusions she may need along the way.
When my dad was in the hospital this summer, two teachers e-mailed to see if they could care for our children so we could be at the hospital with my dad. (Teachers on summer break… with their own plans… cared enough to sacrifice their time to care for my four boys.)
On fall break, we ran into an Oaks family at a State Park. After we had visited, the mom of the family called back to me and asked if there was something she could pray about for us. I had just been thinking of how I don’t ask people to pray on behalf of Bret. I took this opportunity to ask her to pray for his health and for my strength to face the MS without stepping either into denial or fear. She is faithful and has since become a treasured friend.
A retired professor reads to my children every week. They all talk about how they love it when Dr. Waldo comes to share his stories. A man giving his time to enrich the lives of my children.
These are the reasons I am addicted. I know every place has its problems and I am not trying to romanticize here. I am just so grateful that we are part of a place that Jesus’ love is free to pour through and onto the ones who are so blessed to walk through the doors.