Shh! Don’t tell my mother, but I am planning to use her in an experiment with students at Northwest Christian Academy in Lake Zurich, Illinois. She’s coming to Chicago from Plymouth, UK this Thursday and I’m very excited.
The experiment will involve working in collaboration with the students in one of the older grades to form rules for the two days that I will substitute there. My mother, who is visiting America, will accompany me. When the students have finished making the rules they must decide on the consequences. I will try not to edit this process, especially since the students tend to be harder on each other than adults might be on them.
After we have rules and consequences, I will announce that my mother (because of her love for the students and the school) will take on herself all of the punishment that any child deserves. The only condition on my mother’s taking the punishment is that the child appears to be sorry for what they have done. It will be important to present that this is not a joke. We will arrange something for the evening with my mother, like a trip to the Oberweis Ice-Cream parlour, that she will not get to do if she receives a phone call home.
Students can not mess around to get my mother in trouble. That is a violation of her grace and shows no repentance on their part. Students can not insist on taking the punishment on themselves. This is a lesson on grace and not just punishment.
After two days of this, the students and I will debrief about what they have learned. Hopefully we will be able to see something of the power of grace. Too many Christian schools are typified by rules, legalism, stricture. I want to see Christian children who know what it is to extend the grace that they have received.