Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13)

On Tuesday, the Elementary Studio celebrated Emmry and Sloane for mastering the content necessary to earn their badges and move up to the next level. Rather than time spent in seats as the guide for learners advancing, when heroes at Journey are ready, they take the step to the next level.  And we love to party when they do.

To mark their demonstrations of mastery, Miss Cheryl convened an honor circle for both heroes.  We see Jesus prioritizing “honoring one another” and we practice honor throughout the year.  At Journey, honor includes recognizing the things we are thankful for in the hero, gifts we see in the hero and what we like about the hero. On this day, the heroes gave thanks for Emmry’s gifts and grace in the studio.  They recognized her hard work and her ability to be comfortable as a leader not only in the studio but in the school.  Personally, I find myself relying on Emmry for her insights, young wisdom and great memory for the values of our school.

As the conversation turned to Sloane, heroes valued her ability to focus, her quiet and quirky sense of humor,  her passion for reading and her humble care and listening to others came out during the time of honor.  Toward the end of our time of focusing on Sloane, in the way only a sister could know, Clara spoke up. “Sloane. I think of that Bible verse we learned earlier in the year.  ‘Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’ That’s you Sloane.”

The Bible describes this as a prophetic word.  Clara was strengthening and encouraging Sloane.  She applied a Kingdom practice, unprompted, to build up her sister.  Through meditating on Scripture, she was able to bring the Scripture into the exact moment it was called for.

May we all speak words to strengthen, comfort and encourage like Clara.

//Dr. T//

p.s. As heroes are practicing prayer in the Restorative Room, we have set up a prayer email address.  If you have prayer requests that you would like to submit, write to I will edit for length, content and readability while the heroes will intercede on your behalf for your requests.


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practice honor

Honor one another.  (Romans 12:10)

To begin every Friday at Journey Academy, we engage in a spiritual practice called the Honor Circle.  My colleague Eun Sub Cho started this practice when I was previously at the Wonder Academy.  Each week, we have an honoree and three initial honorers.  Early in the year, I explained that honor could look like something you’re thankful for in this person, a gift that you notice this person has or something you like about this person.  All those pour out honor. Then we pray prayers of thanksgiving for the honoree. 

Today, I extended the honor circle based on the photo above of my daughter, recently returned from Air Force Basic Training and Technical School.  She is saluting my mother, an Air Force veteran and nurse.  Lily is following in my mom’s footsteps. And the first thing she did when she returned home was to head to grandma’s house to salute and honor her.  I told the heroes that we can honor someone by trying to imitate their example.  I encouraged them as they noted honorable things in the people around them to try to imitate their friends and family.  

In the ELS honor circle, heroes told Ella that:

  • She never gives up when she gets stuck.
  • Her joy makes me feel joyful.
  • She is loving toward others.
  • Her excitement for writing is inspiring.
  • She works really hard at studio maintenance.

She said it felt good that people who work with her every day saw this.

We even honor each of our hero talk presenters, recognizing the gift that they bring our community.  Last week, we honored Jason Sasso who gave a hero talk on learning about gravity.

And I believe this type of school culture is transformative. They receive this honor and they move into their Core Skills where they meet with success and failure. Honor can sustain when heroes face challenges.  Stella told me she was stuck on her math in Dreambox.  When I reminded her that heroes had honored her sticking with it, she stuck with it.  Through sticking with it, she overcame the obstacle.

John Mark Comer of Bridgetown Church calls us to Create a Community of Honor in a Culture of Contempt. This was one of most challenging and inspiring sermons that I have listened to in the past year.  And I am accepting his challenge.  I want Journey to be a community of honor for heroes, for guides, for parents, for our surrounding community.  

Please consider joining us.

//Dr. T//

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