Adventist Education Means Life Lessons

July 03, 2019 | Education | Tegan Smith

In Adventist education,  I have learned lessons that have helped me understand that all people matter regardless of age, size or background. I learned to care for other people as Jesus did.

In the first grade, that meant letting other people be first in line to the drinking fountain after recess, which would result in several children circling each other, "letting others go first."  We had excellent examples in the older kids who would watch out for us and be our friends. One particular “buddy” of mine was dubbed my twin because of our similar blonde hair and blue eyes. We would walk to chapel together, and she would always be friendly, teaching me the valuable lesson of respecting people no matter their age or size.

I learned to show compassion to people in our community. We packed lunches for kids so they could have meals on the weekends. We wrapped toy boxes to send to other countries for Christmas, collected cans for Thanksgiving meals at the local shelter, and raked leaves and planted a garden for the people in our community. In helping others, we learned that it was essential to care for people close to us. In my small school, we learned how to get along with others, which, in turn, taught me how to make good friends with a variety of people.

I learned that church meant family and that my church family cared for me. Since my school was small, I got to form friendships with the teachers and pastors. The pastors came, helped us with Bible and math, and played with us at recess. When I was little, I would hang on the pastor's arm whenever he came around. Years later, this same pastor baptized me. I also had church members who substituted for my grandparents when they couldn’t be there. Getting to know them helped me realize that I had a family anywhere I went.

On school camping trips in the upper grades, there was always the traditional night hike. We would walk about half way and then turn off all our lights, let our eyes adjust and look up at the stars while our teacher told us about the God who made this vast universe yet still sent His Son to die for us. Adventist education taught me that I have a church family, that I need to care for people, that people need compassion and respect, and that a big God cares for little us.