Archive for category Parenting

God is in Control

by Dawn Cuckler, HCA Math Teacher

As a parent I have moments of frustration at how hard it seems to teach my children certain things. When I was first thinking about being a parent and reading books on how to be a good parent and how to train my children up “in the way they should go,” I determined that as long as I was consistent in my discipline, they would get what I was trying to teach and all would be well. Life has taught me better. There are just things that I can say and teach and shepherd a thousand times, and they still seem to elude my children and my students.

It is at those moments when the Lord gently reminds me of the things He is trying to teach me, and though he has shown me and reminded me and disciplined me I still can’t seem to get them right. Then I think of the moments along the way when something did click. When I got it and it finally stuck, at least for a time. What was it about those moments? How can I reproduce them in my own life and in the lives of my children and students?

I think the answer is clear: I cannot. Those moments were profound because God made them profound. It wasn’t ever what the person said or the way in which they said it. It was always God…and so it will always have to be. If I want change in my life or the life of anyone that I love and care about, I must be on my knees, in prayer: that God would intervene and turn our hearts and minds and wills toward Him. May the Lord give us the strength to do all that we can, and after all of our doing, to trust Him with the outcome!

I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.”  ~Jeremiah 24:7

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”   ~Ezekiel 36:26


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A New Parent’s Thoughts on the First Week of School

by Heather Smith, Communications Manager

After eleven years at Heritage, this week marked something new for me: I was a mom, dropping of my preschool student for his first day of school.

It was a big shift in gears for me. Over the years, I’ve taught lower and upper elementary, high school English and drama at Heritage. For the past four years, I have enjoyed the more behind the scenes work that being the communications person offers. The school year has always brought many adventures, but being on the parent side was a novel experience altogether.

The first day of school meant sitting on the carpet with my son, listening to Mrs. Howeth read “The Kissing Hand,” and seeing all the small preschool faces that needed to hear the words she read. Being in the gym on Back to School Night, listening to Mr. Ness give announcements alongside all the elementary parents. Knowing that for hours each day he attends school, my son would be in an environment that provides him with nurturing, individualized attention, but more importantly, that would bolster his faith in Christ.

Raising children is such an incredible privilege, a true gift from God. And when it comes to choosing where they will be educated, it is an equally weighty decision. Over time, students spend thousands of hours in the classroom, listening to teachers that will help shape their worldview. Many of you may not know, but my late husband was a Heritage graduate. He tragically passed away before the birth of our son. Ever since my son was an infant, I knew he would be attending HCA, because of the community, faith, and family it provides. I am proud that he is joining the ranks of second-generation Heritage students.

Being a parent can seem like such a long journey – eighteen years feels like a lot when you look at it all at once. But, to quote a favorite author of mine, the days are long, but the years are short. In the midst of the lost shoes, crying, messy rooms, and patience-trying moments, the time speeds by and we turn around and they are grown up. We have such a finite time to influence their lives, and trusting who will educate them is a big part of that time. Choosing who speaks into your child’s life on a daily basis is no small matter. We are thankful that all of you have chosen to be part of the Heritage family. You are what make HCA great.

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HCA’s Pillars

by Sarah Matlock, Secondary Science

For nearly 10 years, Doug and I were full supporters of our public school system. Our three oldest daughters started out there, and from California to Colorado, we had experienced the gamut. However, as our kiddos grew, we both knew that we wanted an alternative path for the middle school and high school years. Working in the system, I saw firsthand the struggles students faced, the red-tape for teachers, and the ever-growing absence of tolerance for Christ. Although private school did not seem like a financially viable option, we felt led to check into Heritage for our oldest daughter’s 8th grade year. From our very first tour of the school, it was clear to us that Heritage was so incredibly different than what we had ever known. HCA stands on three pillars which truly shape the heart and soul of the school: academic excellence, nurturing environment, and authentic faith.

Many schools in northern Colorado can claim academic excellence. In fact, Liberty Common is quickly becoming the top dog for college prep! With the popularity of charter schools and parents’ school of choice options, the competition for academic excellence is often the driving force for selecting the “perfect” school. HCA absolutely has a rigorous curriculum, and through intense focuses on science, English, and math, students are more than ready for the demands of college. So what makes Heritage different? The Gospel is ingrained in every subject, every lesson plan, and in every classroom. Why does this make a DIFFERENCE? Let’s look at the origin of life for an example. The theory of evolution, specifically as it relates to the evolution of species, is a counterclaim to the need for our Creator. The limited scientific data does little to authenticate its viability; however, it is embedded in all aspects of secular scientific teachings. HCA students are provided with the tools to identify theory-based reasoning and are able to identify the holes within these theories. The pursuit of TRUTH is what makes HCA distinctly excellent. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. I Corinthians 3:19; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32

Many years ago, I served as the Enrichment Coordinator for a local elementary school. There was one particular student who consistently left his homework at home and was never prepared for class. (Insert chuckle from all teachers at HCA who have had my little ones.) I distinctly remember his teacher declaring, “It is not my job to parent this child!” This idea has crept into public education over the past decade, leaving teachers powerless and unable to mentor students through some of the toughest of times. HCA strongly believes in the power of discipleship and shepherding, using every opportunity to speak in to the hearts and minds of our youth. Kids spend the majority of their time in the confines of a school. The teachers at Heritage embrace the concept that they must be more than simply educators; they are counselors, parents, mentors, mediators, disciples, and friends. Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

If we were to have a hierarchy of pillars, authentic faith would be the cornerstone. This faith sanctifies the school and provides a place free from MANY of the atrocities that plague our youth today. Although our students still face struggles, there is a common denominator in every family, in every home, and in all teachers: there is power in the name of Jesus.   Above all other reasons, this pillar was the deciding factor for my children. For what is more important for our children than for them to know and love the Lord? Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

I am not a weepy person, but the first time I subbed at Heritage I cried. I was so thankful that the Lord had enabled us to bring our oldest there and to be working in a place where Christ was LIVING. After that first year, I told Doug that all four of our children needed to be there. By Christ’s amazing grace, that very next year, they all were. At the end of the day, what makes Heritage so different, so unique, is the presence of our Savior. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:11

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If Only

by Lori Merkley, 3rd Grade Teacher

….If only…if only I had ‘someone’ who noticed…If only I had ‘someone’ to talk to…If only ‘someone’ cared, then maybe it would be different….Maybe then I would be able to keep going and face life…..

These were some of the thoughts that haunted me in my middle through high school years. These are the same thoughts many young men and women still have today. And these are the same thoughts I keep in mind as I try to be that ‘someone’ with the small group of ladies God has places in my life.

And I would be willing to bet that many of you had these same thoughts in your life as you went through school. Perhaps you even have them now in your life. I would also be willing to bet that you feel you could not possibly be that ‘someone’. That you could not have anything to offer a young person. And yet I remember clearly that I didn’t have a check list on who that ‘someone’ would be, or what that ‘someone’ might look like, or how even old that ‘someone’ was. Just that I needed ‘someone’ to care, to listen, to comfort, to help, to notice-and one did. She became my life line, literally. She was only in my life for a short 6 months, but she is one of the reasons I help girls today. You see, she didn’t try to make a make a difference in my life. She didn’t have deep words or funny jokes. She wasn’t beautiful, young or rich. In fact she was rather old and very pain looking, and was quite; well, normal. Simple in fact. But she was kind and she listened. She gave me her full attention. She made me feel like I had something to offer the world and that the world just might even have something more to offer me instead of pain. And that is what I try to be with the girls in our Soul Sisters Bible study. For I am now that ‘someone’ to them. I am the old lady, the one who is not very rich in words or worldly goods. I am the plain looking lady next door who tends to live a simple life. But to the girls I have supported these last several years I try to be that ‘someone’ who listens, who cries with them if they need it, who laughs alongside of them, that ‘someone’ who cares.

And I would challenge you to pray about whether you too could be that ‘someone’ too. Like me you don’t have to be anything special, just be a person who listens, who pays attention, who cares. And then maybe you too make the difference that that one ‘someone’ did in my life all those years ago. Would it amaze you to know I don’t even remember her name now, but I credit her with saving me. So, don’t be afraid, instead make it your goal to be that ‘someone’ in a young person’s life today!

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Be the Change You Want to See

by Sarah Matlock, HCA Secondary Science Teacher

The other day I was at King Soopers waiting for my oldest to put the shopping cart away. I watched as she eased our cart into the cart parking structure. Then she did something that surprised me; she walked over to a stray cart and proceeded to put that one away. This was a gesture that struck me to the core, because it was the first time I saw my child emulate my actions. You see, for years I have had the habit of putting random carts away. I never explained to my children why I do this, the action is somewhat self-explanatory, nor did I ever press this duty upon them. It is simply something I have always felt led to do. At that point, watching my child subconsciously choose to make a difference filled my heart with great joy.

We have all heard the expression “actions speak louder than words”, but how often do we apply this to our interactions with youth, specifically in parenting. Ward Cleaver was a prime example of successful parenting that relied on deep, heart-felt lectures which forever pressed on the hearts of Wally and Beaver. But, how often do our instructions mimic the sound reasoning and logic of Mr. Cleaver, especially when we are dealing with tumultuous tantrums, deplorable defiance, and belligerent bickering. How often do we become the rage-filled parent yelling at our children all the way to the Christian school?

I am a woman of many words, and I will take frequent opportunities to impart my words of wisdom on my children (as much as they love it). But it took that one action from my daughter for me to realize that my actions are worth far more than my lectures. My children have seen me through many life stages. Whether it is waiting tables in the trenches or completing a Master’s degree, they have always known me as a busy mom. However, where I once considered this to be a source of guilt, perhaps this has been their source of strength. My experiences have taught them very specific life lessons: lessons in failure and success, following one’s passion while being led by the Lord, and most importantly peace through the storm regardless of the outcome. In short, my personal confidence and drive has instilled in my children the courage to passionately take on any opportunity that comes their way. Here is the kicker, I did not even realize I did this!

In the end, this is not about personal accomplishment or how much one can take on in his/her life. Rather it is about BEING the person you want your children to become. The Bible says in Deuteronomy 31:5 and 6, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” In light of raising our children, this brings a whole new meaning to this verse. For it is not our words that lead our children, but our personal walk; our walk in our careers, our walk in our family, and most importantly our walk with Christ. If we truly want our children to exude compassion, love their enemy, and trust whole-heartedly in the Lord then we must first be the change we want to see in them.

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