“We all speak three languages. We’ve all travelled over seas. We all are wearing the color black. We all like to eat chicken.”

I sat, listening to representatives from the entire high school share a list of things everyone in their randomly-chosen group had in common. It was part of a getting-to-know-you activity during the first week. I looked around a room filled with kids from all over the world. Businessmen’s kids, politician’s kids, missionary kids, and kids of the local staff. Many are extremely wealthy. Many are carrying the weight of the advancement of their entire family. Everyone is in an atypical environment from their home culture. Me included.

Here are the things I’m learning about them:

  1. They LOVE their families. Almost every student has referenced the support of their families over friends. This is not surprising when you consider that for every international move, every new country, language, and climate zone, their family has been the only constant.
  2. They are multilingual. Most students speak a little of a lot of languages which is a testament to all the places they’ve lived and the different school systems they’ve been a part of.
  3. They know how to talk to adults. Student’s frequently greet me first, ask about my night/morning/weekend and wait to listen to my response. They’ve grown up in a world of adults and have been coached on how to engage.
  4. They push boundaries, they like to laugh, they pretend to be ok when they aren’t. Basically, they are teenagers!

Here are things I’m learning about myself:

  1. I’ve missed teaching high school. I should be more embarrassed than I am about my enthusiasm to be back in the never-finished-grind of classroom teaching. I’ve missed working with this age group, I’ve missed planning and executing lessons that make their minds a little bigger.
  2. Everything I wasn’t focused on the last two years is helping me. If you’ve been following my Africa Season, you know my first two years in Kenya were rough…super rough. But it had nothing to do with Kenya. Everything I got to experience about Kenya while I walked through that rough season: the culture, the language, the life, is helping me to make connections and process behavior in a better way. I’m so grateful.
  3. I have something to give again. When I finished teaching in the States I was really done. I didn’t know how else to offer Jesus to the wealthy kids in the US who have everything but are so empty. Now, I’m working with a majority of very wealthy kids again, yet I don’t feel that sense of resignation. I feel a sense of purpose and energy in speaking Christ and living Christ as best as my sinful self is capable. I feel the weight these students carry for their family and their future and I know how much Jesus longs to set them free from every expectation of this world.

I praise God, who has been so undeservingly kind to give me the gift of this place and this season!