Mount Paran Christian School Teaches Empathy and Celebrates God’s Diverse Creation
As a covenantal Christian school, Mount Paran Christian School (MPCS) takes to heart its mission to prepare servant-leaders to honor God, love others and walk in truth. The MPCS family is committed to the words found in John 15:12: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
While MPCS is known for its college-preparatory academics within small class sizes on a collegiate-style campus, what’s most important to faculty and administration, students and families is MPCS students are taught through a biblical worldview, resulting in graduates who crave deeper faith, embrace intellectual curiosity, are well-prepared, live courageously and pursue excellence.
The MPCS family embraces being united as one in the body of Christ, while appreciating the unique God-given talents and differences of the individual. Diversity and belonging are integral aspects of what MPCS does as a covenant school and as a community of Christian believers. The school aims to ensure it provides an equitable space for its entire “commUNITY” and hinges upon four biblical foundations: Diversity has been a part of God’s plan for humanity since the beginning; we have been created in the image of God to glorify God; as Christians, we have been adopted into one family – the family of God; and God’s plan for diversity enables us to better recognize and worship him.
Teaching Children Empathy
In an age of selfies, “look at me” social media and an all-about-me mentality, teaching the next generation empathy for others can be a real challenge. By their very nature, children are self-centered – an innate self-preservation tool that makes them seldom aware of their surroundings or the needs of others. It’s up to adults to model and teach children how to love others through empathy and a genuine desire to want to help. By partnering with home and church, Mount Paran Christian School is able to intentionally help guide students along a path of loving kindness.
Derek McCloud, sixth-grade Bible teacher at MPCS, suggests parents start by helping children exercise their “gratitude muscle” to create awareness about things like shelter, food and freedoms, which are blessings and are not guaranteed. Developing a thankful heart goes a long way in building humility and appreciation. Consider a gratitude journal, for instance, to reflect on at least one blessing each day. Reviewing the journal periodically will help children become more aware of what they have been given. By extending the lesson in gratitude, parents can expand on the concept of fairness and help children become more generous.
For older children, hearing the stories of those whose experiences are different than our own, witnessing the raw emotion firsthand, is eye-opening and compels Christians to act. When guiding tweens and teens in tough conversations about the wrongs of the world, it’s important they learn to truly listen to others who may be different from them or who are experiencing struggles. Teaching kids to share other people’s burdens (Galatians 6:2) will give them more clarity about what they could say or do to help anyone in need.
Love in Action
At Mount Paran Christian School, the most important aspect of shared culture is love and unity. Culture encompasses the ways of life of a population – arts, beliefs and institutions – and is passed down through the generations. MPCS aspires to put love into action (1 John 3:18) and seek opportunities to fellowship, dine and converse with all types of people to teach everyone about Christ’s saving grace. This is beautifully exemplified with the school’s biennial Culture Fest.
Culture Fest is an immersive evening of food, music, art, cultural traditions and activities from around the globe when MPCS celebrates the many beautiful cultures represented within its community. Students receive “passports” to travel the world and learn about different cultures, providing time to gather together in fellowship while also celebrating the unique ways in which each person is made.
Overcoming human nature’s selfish desires is a struggle. Refining one’s moral compass to recalibrate our perspectives to align with the truth of God’s word takes intentionality. It’s important parents help children develop an awareness of injustices and a “be-the-helper” mentality. For parents, like those at MPCS, who are willing to put in the work to teach gratitude, show generosity and model empathy, the results will be not only life-changing for children, but culture-shifting for society.