The students milled about on the edges, the parents listened attentively, laughed and cheered, and patiently sat through the hours of program until the "lunch" was served at about 6 pm. Then we picked our way through the mud, tired and grateful.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Once a year, CSB celebrates Parents' Day, an all-day all-school affair which is the only time that parents come en masse to enjoy and celebrate their childrens' performances, to tour the school, be amazed at the computers, critically inspect the dorms, meet the faculty. As with most things relating to an edge of the Kingdom, there is potential for greatness, and for disaster. Last year was one of the worst Parents' Days ever . . . and this year was one of the best. We prayed that God would be glorified, and that the parents would be pulled into the vision, caught up in what God is doing, confident and loyal. I think both happened. Torrents of rain got the whole day off to a late and slow start, and made me wonder if we were in for another disappointing day. But from start to finish God showed up, in unexpected and clear ways. The student drama, rather than a meandering soap opera, was a well-played story of a man who turned to hospitals and a witch doctor for healing (pretty dramatic scene of incantations) to no avail, and then met a group of Christians who took him for prayer, and important demonstration of God's power being greater than science or spirits. The entire cast came out at the end to recap the story in an original song, pointing to Jesus. Beautiful. Even the "fashion show" which could have been an opportunity for bad taste was scripted by the counselor, a lovely Christian lady, and as the students proudly crossed the stage in outfits from various parts of Uganda the narrative kept pointing to God's creativity. There were choirs and poetry. And traditional dance, which for me and I think most parents was an important statement that we at CSB are not trying to erase culture, and that we value the ancient artistic expression that our students continue to learn and practice. Then of course, no day is complete without speeches, many. And at times these speeches can turn whiny, accusatory, demanding, or inappropriately disrespectful. Not this year. The District Education Office representative is an Inspector of Schools, so when he got up to talk I braced myself for a list of our shortcomings. Instead he launched into a beautiful speech about how Christ School was a demonstration of international commerce: that Americans exported love to start this place. The parents' and students' representatives, who usually present a list of demands, instead spoke very positively (another miracle, the parents' rep was an old man dressed in clothes that clearly identified him with another religion, but he had only good things to say and challenged parents to send ALL their children to Christ School). David reviewed the years' accomplishments, the way that the administration had chosen to consolidate what we are doing and do it better, the improvements in student government, discipline, food, the impact of Scripture Union and a couple of visiting speakers on the spiritual climate, and gave all the statistics on performance on national exams. Scott closed as Chairman of the Board, and did a beautiful job of promoting the sense of ownership of the school by all. He said that we took a long look this year at this 11-year-old . . and like our own 11-year-old, the school is growing but not grown, there are still long ways to go. For this we need two things: prayer, and the wisdom of our elders. Just like an African family calls clan elders to advise, we called two consultants and our mission leadership this year to evaluate the school. He reaffirmed out commitment as a mission to the school, and ended with Psalm 118 again, challenging the parents to have faith, not in US, but in God as the school moves into the next decade of growth, and asked them to join us in prayer specifically for the new Head Teacher.