I want my students to live in the “First Circle.” Let me explain.
When I was a youth minister, someone once showed me the “First Circle” concept. I honestly don’t know where it originated, but I have reworked it a bit for my students. Here’s how it works:
The “First Circle” is where students work diligently on the things they are asked to do. When they do so, they are successful learners and end up being happy with themselves and their work. They make good choices and usually good grades as well.
Students enter the “Second Circle” when they come to a crossroads and make a bad choice – when they choose to break the class rules/procedures. There are usually consequences for these bad choices and they also disrupt the class. The learning process is also disrupted if a student enters the second circle.
Note: I have many student who enter this circle and then apologize. However, when they continue to misbehave and then apologize again and again without behavior change, they never return to the 1st Circle. The words of a true apology is backed up by actions and behavior change.
Students can enter the “Third Circle” pretty quickly if they choose not to apologize. This circle is NOT where I like my students to be. They end up disrupting the class repeatedly and will suffer consequences both in the classroom and out (ISS/Parent Phone Calls). Many times they destroy the learning process for themselves but also for the class as a whole. These students are usually too angry to apologize and end up causing more problems out of anger. However, when they cool off, they still have the opportunity to apologize and then start making better choices to work their way back to the first circle. they have destroyed the learning process for themselves and sometimes for the class as a whole.
Anyway, this is just a concept that I thought was worth writing up. Like I said, I didn’t create it, but I’m not sure who did. I just adapted it from a discipleship concept that I learned as a youth minister. (They used “sin” and “repentance” as the two decision points.)
Check out this picture of me as a little kid. I couldn’t get out of that bucket without knocking it over and crawling out. I had gotten in a little too deep for my own good. (I’m not even sure how I got in there. – Probably, with a little help from my Dad. – By the way Lord, is that what You do with us? Encourage and help us get into places where we’re gonna have to learn to rely and trust in You to help us out?)
Hmm. . . That’s about how I’m feeling today about school. I guess I’m a bit overwhelmed. I feel like I’ve got lots of homework to do and not a lot of time to get it all done. If I were a full-time student, it wouldn’t be a problem, but since I have a full-time job as a youth minister and also volunteer as a worship leader. . . .there’s just not lots of extra time in my life. I especially want to protect my marriage. It’s important that I’m involved in these things, but even more important that I’m involved and connected with my beautiful bride. Last night, she watched some TV (one of her favorite shows – Studio 60) and I would normally have snuggled and watched with her, but I had to work on my homework. It’s only one night, but when you multiply this out over time, it all adds up pretty quickly. I don’t ever want my bride to feel neglected, and she’s a “quality time” girl when it comes to her love language. If it comes down to choosing between my wife and this class, there really is no choice at all – I will choose my wife. I just hope it doesn’t come to that.
Lord, help me to be diligent in my relationship with You and my wife. Show me how to balance my time so that I can accomplish everything that You’ve called me to. Anytime something changes in my schedule, I’ve had to rework all this out, and You’ve been faithful in the past with these kinds of things. I’m trusting in You to show me how it can be done this time too. Lord, You really are so very good to me – even the opportunity to be able to take part in each of these things is a testimony to Your goodness. Lord, give me a grateful heart, instead of this negative, I-can’t-do-it-all attitude that I’ve been feeling lately. The truth is that by Your Spirit, I can do everything You’ve called me to, and I should be grateful that You’ve called me to so many things – Thank You for inviting me to be a part of Your work in all these areas.
Lord, I also ask for you to guide me in my relationship with Miranda. Let me cherish every moment I have with her, and teach us how to live together with these new schedules of ours. Bless her in her ministry at SLP, and use her to build bridges between the school and the church. AMEN!
OK – so my new school (College for Biblical Studies) is requiring me to keep a journal. I haven’t been faithful at keeping one daily for a few years, but I do enjoy it when I have done it. I’m not sure how often they really want me to write or even the topic they’d like me to write about so I’m just gonna put my thoughts about class down here until they tell me otherwise. I’ll be in class tomorrow, so maybe I’ll get more details then.
My first class is Theology 3330. We’re supposed to read a book called “Major Bible Themes” by Lewis Sperry Chafer and answer a bunch of questions and also write a book review on another book – “Dispensationalism” by Charles Ryrie. I haven’t begun “Dispensationalism” yet, but my friend Hans (who is attending DTS in Dallas) says it’s a great book and that Ryrie is an incredible theologian. I’ve focused this first week on getting back into the habit of doing homework and answering the questions from the other book. So far I’ve finished the first 10 chapters and here’s what I’m thinking:
I don’t feel like I’ve really “learned” any new concepts. By reading this book, I feel like I’m learning some new language and terminology to speak about these concepts. Anyway, I must admit I’m a little disappointed. It’s probably good to know these terms, but the truth is that I don’t wanna be the guy who speaks over everyone’s head. I want to be able to explain these same concepts with regular language. I’m also disappointed because I’m really hungry to learn right now, but I’m not learning any new concepts. Of course, my prayer is that there is more to come, and I do feel confident that we’re just kind of laying a foundation for deeper things.