LEAven Blog


I’d Like to Ask You a Couple of Questions

Does your school have extra-curricular activities?  If so, why?  Maybe we don’t give intentional thought very often to their purpose.  I believe there are many reasons why extra-curricular activities can be a positive in the life of a Lutheran school.  Today, I want to mention three of those many reasons.

First, extra-curricular activities are opportunities for relationship-building between teachers, parents, and students. About ten years ago, I coached our school’s soccer team.  At the end of the season’s first game, a mom of one of the players came across the field and began to complain about her son’s playing time.  She ranted for about five minutes, turned around, and stormed off.  Another parent who was nearby looked at me after the mom had left and said, “Oh, don’t worry about her. She’s always like that!”  After the incident, I made it a point to have contact with this mom on a regular basis, never to win her approval, and not always to talk about soccer, just to have contact.  A couple of weeks later, I was leaving school for the day.  It was late in the afternoon, and most teachers were gone.  I could hear that mom coming upstairs, upset about something that had happened in another class that day.  She stuck her head in my doorway, and was again ranting.  But this time, the rant was much shorter.  She composed herself, and as I invited her in to talk, she sat down.  Long story short, over time, we developed a positive, civil relationship, and I was able to win her trust, having taken the time and effort to build a respectful relationship in terms of the classroom as well as the soccer field.

Second, extra-curricular activities are opportunities for growth.  I remember a young man who was an excellent player on our boys’ basketball team.  This young man, early in his middle school years, was not overly excited about academics.  He also had some maturing to do in regard to behavior.  Over time through his supportive family and the work of our staff, we saw this young man’s maturity grow.  One day, in his eighth-grade year, we were winning a game, but as a coach, I wasn’t comfortable with the margin. I sent the starters back onto the court for the fourth quarter.  The young man I have mentioned turned to me with a thoughtful look on his face. He said to me in a respectful tone, “Coach, don’t forget about these guys!” as he pointed to the players on our bench.  I stopped, smiled, and nodded in acceptance; thankful for the growth of maturity this young man had undergone. He was showing leadership and growth in a most excellent way!

Third, extra-curricular activities can be opportunities for students to gain connection and acceptance from their peers.  I remember a young man at our school who was not terribly interested in academics, athletics, or any other activity we offered students.  He sometimes struggled with relationships with his peers.  However, through music class, as well as a school musical that was coming later in the year, the music teacher discovered this young man had a good singing voice and a desire to perform! This turned out to be not only an opportunity for this young man to excel at something but also an opportunity for him to receive acceptance from his peers. 

Now, I haven’t even mentioned how relationships built through extra-curricular activities can lead to witnessing of Law and Gospel. I will leave that for you, as Lutheran teachers, to figure out relative to your school and students.

Rev. John Greene grew up in north central Florida. He has earned a B.A. from Concordia University-Texas, an MDiv. from Concordia Seminary - St. Louis, MO, and a M.A.T. from Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC. He has one son, Adam, who is presently in Optometry School. John and his wife Nancy (Adams) live in St. Louis. John’s interests, along with ministry and education, include music, coaching athletics, and shortwave radio listening.