Adventist Schools As A Community of Grace

Reflective Practice

“Kind hearts are the gardens,

Kind thoughts are the roots,

Kind words are the flowers,

Kind deeds are the fruits.

Take care of your garden

And keep out the weeds;

Fill it up with sunshine,

Kind words and kind deeds”.   – Longfellow

Adventist schools, their educational systems, and their activities are a blessing to many in this world.  I am one of the witnesses of these kind hearts and kind deeds. They have filled me up with sunshine and blessings.

In 1975, I came to Kellogg Mookerjee Memorial Seminary, Adventist boarding school, Jalirpar, Bangladesh.  I was in the 4th grade at that time.  I did not have a father when I came to school.  My mother also died when I was in the 6th grade.  I have only two elder sisters. It is the Adventist school’s system and environment which supported me so that I was able to finish primary, high school, college, and university.  God helped me to earn the highest degree through the Adventist system.  I realize that if the Adventist schools did not exist, it would not have been possible for me to stand where I am today.

The Adventist schools show genuine goodness, kindness, and grace to others in countless ways.  One more example of grace in this school environment is ‘Redemptive Discipline.’  In other school systems, administrators and teachers ‘deal with’ students. They try to maintain a position of authority and control in terms of discipline. The Adventist schools try to demonstrate redemptive discipline. The students’ discipline is not to expel them from school, but to correct them for a better future. Our Master Teacher, Jesus, said, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother” (Matthew 18:15).  In her book Education, Ellen White said, “let the child and the youth be taught that every mistake, every fault, every difficulty, conquered, becomes a stepping stone to better and higher things” (White, Education, p. 277:4).

The parable of Good Samaritan told by Jesus is known to us (Luke 10:30-37). It is about a traveler who was going to Jericho from Jerusalem. On the way, robbers stripped him, beat him, and left him wounded. First a priest and then a Levite come by, but both avoided the man. Finally, a Samaritan helped him.  In this parable “Christ illustrates the nature of true religion. He shows that it consists not in systems, creeds, or rites, but in the performance of loving deeds, in bringing the greatest good to others, in genuine goodness”  (White, Desire of Ages, p.497:1).

True religion and genuine goodness is when we show our love, responsibility, and tenderness to the needy and unprivileged students. The role of Adventist schools is the role of the Good Samaritan.  They value students and transfer goodness to them.  This is what I have experienced in my personal life as well as by teaching in different Adventist schools, colleges, and universities for the past 33 years.

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Prity Pearly Bairagee, Ed.D. MA English, is currently serving as an Associate Professor and Dean of the Humanities Department at Adventist University Zurcher in Madagascar. She has taught English Language in elementary and secondary schools, and served as Office Management and Education Department Chairperson in Bangladesh Adventist Seminary and College.

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