Paying it Forward

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves…” Philippians 2:3

In my 25 years of teaching I’ve attended my fair share of school dances. I remember my first experience vividly. It was painful to watch. Students who would ordinarily exude joy and sunshine in the classroom would suddenly make sport of an unsuspecting younger student and leave them in a puddle of tears and frustration. The younger students came to their first dance ready to experience life as a “big kid” and ended up on the outside of a clique ruled by group think and snobbery. What I love about Covenant dances is that this doesn’t happen, not even remotely.

Instead of forming a clique for those who have power and influence in the school, our Student Council view themselves as servant leaders and hosts. Their goal is to make the event special and welcoming and they go to great lengths to accomplish that goal. At Covenant, our upper school students are heroes to our grammar students. They are given authority and honor. I often hear the grammar students say, “I can’t wait until I’m in the upper school.” It’s natural then for the first upper school dance to be a little intimidating for the newest upper school students…"Can I really be one of them? Will they really accept me?"

2016 Western Dance

I watched from the sidelines as the 7th grade students entered. Many seemed unsure but the dance caller made sure that everyone knew what to do. There was never a dull moment. Almost every kid danced every dance. This is unheard of in middle school dances. Also unheard of is high schoolers twice their size dancing with them as if they’d been part of the upper school for years. To them it’s just expected to see everyone as part of the family. Our Student Council embodied what it means to be servant leaders; they put others before themselves before, during and after the dance.

This week at lunch House Service time I observed some of those same 7th graders taking on the role of being the big kids in the room. They walked around from table to table, helping kids open containers, bending low to listen to corny jokes. They went out of their way to make little ones feel special and it seemed awfully familiar to the way they had been treated at the upper school dance. As one dad commented to me recently, “Covenant is a school that feels like a family.”