by Jolene Ridder
“It is all about the love,” a guest pastor’s voice oozed as he said this to the audience of elementary students in Chicago. As a twenty-something, I sat among my class of six- and seven-year olds in our Christian school chapel service wondering, “Is it really?” I remember thinking, “Isn’t it about faith in God, or sacrifice? Could it be about how I use my time, talent and treasure?” “It is all about the love. God’s love for us and our love for others,” he repeated. Okay. Maybe he was on to something.Over the years, I began to use this phrase in my day-to-day life, sometimes as a contextual joke. This pastor had a dynamic way of speaking the words, “It’s all about the love,” so my friends and family knew the hidden meaning. When they wanted to know the occasion for a special meal, “It’s all about the love.” When I helped them with something difficult, “It’s all about the love,” I would add.
I am often asked why I send my children to Christian schools. Concisely said, “It is all about the love.” This is true. I cannot imagine sending my children to school unsure of how the teacher will show them God’s love. When I drop them off at Isaac Newton Christian Academy, I know they are being loved all day, by people who love God more than anything. I cannot put a price tag on this.
Some may say, “But what about the time my junior high student had to go to ‘working lunch’ because they were behind on their assignments?” Even that is all about the love. The teachers want their students to do their best. They hold them accountable for the work they assign, because some day that student will work for someone or have someone work for them, and they will need to know the principle of accountability to authority.
When my children walk laps, sit out of class, or deliver undesirable communication to us due to their disobedience, I still know the teachers did this because they love my children. The faculty wants to serve God in His plan to redeem students to Himself. He wants these students to walk closer with Him. Sin gets in the way of this kind of intimacy with God. The teachers want to see students restored to harmony and sweet fellowship with God. They will not let them continue down an unstable road that could harm them.
I love this about my children’s Christian school. I love their Christian teachers. I try to do nice things for them and say encouraging words to them. One of the most valuable things I can do for them is pray for them. I ask God to protect them. I ask Him to keep them and to make His face to shine upon them and to bring them peace because they love my child. They are partnering with my husband and me.
God has entrusted my children to me. I have taken this huge responsibility and chosen Christian education as the best way to inform them about God’s kingdom. I could have educated them myself. After all, in the 90’s I earned a very expensive degree that licensed me to educate. But, I knew without a doubt that would not be the best choice for my children. They needed to grasp a deeper, wider view of God’s love. So arm and arm I walk with these educators who come from different states, different universities, and different family backgrounds. Together we teach my children that “It’s all about the love.”
Mrs. Ridder is a Second Grade Co-Teacher at Isaac Newton Christian Academy. She is married to the Academy’s Head of School, Mr. Dean Ridder, and has three children.