Three Months in Review

I thought it would be fun to string everyone along for three months, talk all about how hard I’m working, how late I’m staying up, and how crazy our life has been, but not really tell you why. For those just tuning in, I was a contract researcher for God’s World Publications for just over three months, and that contract ended when we hosted the publisher, founder, CFO, and GWN creative director for a meeting at our church on December 3, at which point we handed over our report.

It’s true I was nervous before the meeting, but I shouldn’t have been – a more gracious group of business men I’d be hard-pressed to find. They communicated to us they were glad for the report, the findings, and our work. Not everything we put in our report was new information, but we had the data to put behind their assumptions so they could go forward with what they need to do. Also, I’d like to think we presented some new ideas (I think we did) and I hope they implement some of those as well. I have no idea if they will, but that’s not for me to decide.

I also tried to give them my three-inch Binder of Angst (this is what I began lovingly calling my printed collection of parent input after about the fifth time I felt physically tense after reading some of the “suggestions”), but none of those guys wanted it. I don’t blame them…not one bit.

After the meeting I experienced a sort of four day “post-project depression.” I’m not sure what I was wanting to hear, but I wanted to hear something. From my perspective, I’d just turned in three months of my life. What I didn’t consider was that I was hired to do that so they wouldn’t have to give three months of theirs to the project. So, while I sat around all week wondering what they were thinking, they moved on with their normal busy dockets and our report was one of many things I’m sure they thought about that week.

They didn’t gush, and maybe I wanted them to. On Friday, I got a call that helped me with the closure I needed, as well as gave me hope for the possibility of working with them further. I needed that and I relaxed a lot after that call (thanks for calling, Nick). To sum it all up, I have no idea at this point what our future with GWP may be – they may decide they’ve had enough of the Craig-and-Megan show and move on, or they may think we can add something to what they are planning to do and ask us to climb aboard in some capacity. We’ll see. As much as I want to post the whole report, here’s a tiny snippet of what we did – the introduction. For those of you who have endured the process of all this, I hope this serves as an encouraging and challenging way of saying thanks for sticking with me these past three months.

Two years ago, some friends of ours had their second grader enrolled in a local Christian school here in St. Louis. All seemed to go well, but by the end of that school year, news broke that the second grade teacher had failed to teach any form of language arts to her students. Like many of her classmates, our friends’ daughter was strong in math and science, but had no vision, passion, or belief in the need for language arts as second graders.

When administrators found out about the teacher’s lack of achievement in this area, they were frustrated; how did you not teach language arts to your students, they asked? When parents found out, they were livid, both with the teacher and the administrators; how did you miss that language arts was not being taught to our children, they asked? Needless to say, the teacher was fired. At the time, neither our friends’ daughter, nor her classmates knew what they were missing in the area of language arts. None of them were wearing sensors that went off when their language arts tanks got low; no “check child” light came on mid-year to alert their parents as to what was going on. No, our friends’ daughter and her classmates simply missed out on an important aspect of their education that year because the teacher surely had never been taught the great importance of second grade language arts (and how to teach it) herself.

Perhaps the teacher was never properly trained in rationale and methods for teaching grammar and writing skills to young kids; maybe she didn’t have any resources she could find or use easily when she was faced with the unrelenting challenges of teaching young students day in and day out; could it be that there was little to no structure in place to support her when she needed it (and it’s obvious from the outcome that, somewhere along the way, she must have needed it)? Who really knows what happened? What we do know is the fired teacher was hired by another school (and the problems were repeated there), and our friends’ daughter and several of her classmates had to play catch up in learning language arts skills because, somewhere along the line, the teacher missed out learning how to teach them as well.

God’s World Publications is positioned uniquely to help educators who may be “missing out” like this second grade teacher, particularly in the arena of biblical worldview. Like our friends’ daughter, many parents and teachers don’t realize they are missing these key skills, but they are, and their deficit is passed on as a deficit belonging to their kids. In order to help kids think, we must help parents and teachers think, and provide for them resources they can use to learn to do so. As GWP publisher Nick Eicher stated to us at the beginning of the How Kids Think project, “It is not enough for God’s World Publications to simply be relevant; we need to become integral to the classrooms.” To become indispensable to parents and teachers means publishing that teaches them as they teach kids. How kids think has everything to do with how those who teach them think. By God’s grace, God’s World Publications can help both groups learn about and live out a biblical worldview.