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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By His wounds, we are healed. (Isaiah 53) // Live at peace with everyone. (Romans 12:18)

This current moment is asking a lot of each of us. And it has been crucial to remember the Scripture above that we wrote about in our heroes’ notebooks the past two weeks at Journey Academy. We have been holding on to the assurance of Christ’s forgiveness as well as the exhortation to live at peace with everyone.  And I am so grateful for the chance to walk through this moment with the heroes, guides and parents of Journey Academy.

As timing would have it, we are in the final week of a Quest focusing on racial reconciliation.  For our exhibition on Thursday, heroes are creating quilt squares representing some of the lessons they’ve learned from heroes like parent Christi Gilbert (pictured above) who is working to make things right in the education of over 13,000 students who are coming from non-English speaking families.  The heroes’ quilt squares will also represent lessons learned from the many biographies of the Civil Rights Movement as well as our other hero talks with Mr. Nate on empathy and Mr. George (pictured below). They will be sharing their lessons in written and spoken form as well as their visual analysis of illustrations in books that they have read.  

I conducted an interview with Mr. George on Zoom where he told his story of growing up on a farm in Mississippi with many challenges; as well as his transition to Memphis where he faced obstacles as a city worker; to his time with Dr. King coming alongside the city workers to work toward making things right in Memphis; to finally hearing Dr. King’s final speech of his life “I Have Been To The Mountaintop.” His closing exhortation to the heroes was to work towards reconciliation with kindness and prayer.  (Click on Mr. George link above to hear the full interview with him, it is a treat.)

In response, Miss Cheryl and the ES heroes collaboratively composed this thank you note. 

Dear Mr. George,
Thank you so much for talking with Dr. T about your experiences growing up on a cotton and corn farm, moving to Memphis, hearing Dr. King give his last speech, and what life has been like for you since those times. We are thankful that you are part of the solution of reconciliation and empathy that our world needs. We are inspired by your story. You inspire us to stand up for what is right and to show empathy to others. Thank you for giving us an example of what reconciliation looks like. Christ is our ultimate example of reconciliation and empathy, and we see God’s fingerprints in your story and the choices you make that you told us about. 
With deepest respect,
The Heroes of ES and Miss Cheryl

More and more, we are noticing God’s fingerprints all around us.  During Kingdom Time, we often practice worship on our circle of stumps.  We try to keep it simple so everyone can pick up the songs.  Here’s a playlist of our current worship songs.  You might even sing along with your hero at home or ask them to teach you the songs.  Notice that we’ve also tried to work in some classic spirituals that were significant fuel for the Civil Rights Movement.  The point each time is that we go back to the Source for the grace and strength to become reconcilers in our family, in our school, in our city and in our nations.  

May we all remember that through His sacrifice we have been healed and He is making us whole, reconciled and right.  

// Dr. T //

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