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Worked Up Over the Wrong Things

Graduates in Cap and Gownby Chuck

I’m a bit worried that you won’t finish today’s blog entry because I’m sending you on a kind of Internet scavenger hunt.  I could give you all the details here, but I think you are best off just taking a few minutes reading where I send you, and I hope you eventually make it back to the blog so you can see how all these things come together.

I recently came across the story about the 21 Valedictorians at South Medford High school.  If you haven’t already, read it really quick and them come back.

(Before we launch too far into this blog a bit of disclosure.  Until writing this, I thought that the word “valedictorians” had two Vs in it.)

My first reaction was to feel a bit incredulous and launch into my prepared thoughts on the “trophy generation” followed by my clever mocking based on grade inflation and hovering parents.  However, my rant misses two important points:

  1. Twenty-one seniors with 4-year 4.0 GPAs is something to celebrate, not deride.
  2. Shouldn’t I be more interested in the number of kids who began high school with this class and never finished?

Contrary to public opinion, getting a 4.0 isn’t easy.  I’ve never personally tried but I know quite a few sharp kids who work hard and don’t have a 4.0 GPA.  Doing it for four years in the midst of hormones, peer pressure, and high school drama is a feat that deserves celebrating.  Instead, adults are diminishing these kids’ accomplishments and treating them as cheaters.

Every day 8,300 teens drop out of school.  You can read the statistics on all of that here.  I don’t know much about South Medford High except I once lived in Medford and those kids aren’t too different from the rest of the U.S.  My guess is that this school needs to be encouraged in the things they are doing well (yes, for 21 valedictorians) and help in the area of their biggest challenges.

South Medford isn’t alone.  There is a school in your area that needs to be celebrated and encouraged.  During a recent webcast, I heard Kevin Palau tell the story about how the Louis Palau association decided to serve neighborhood schools, not just in money and advice but in meeting their real needs. He shared about how they mobilized local churches to help foster kids by helping and thanking DHS staff and facilities.

One of the things that Satan wants us to be is jaded and cynical.  To poke holes rather than mend.  The result is a whole generation of kids is at risk because we are focused on the wrong things and are not getting involved in the right things.

I encourage you today to consider what Kevin Palau and others have decided to do in the face of the challenges around them: Don’t just talk about what to do – get involved.  I can guarantee that as you serve God’s kids, you will see Him revealed in a way you never thought possible.