Making the Most of Living Education

Author: Lexi Mitchell | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2023-24

In the latest forum, Mr. Strain began by asking the students to think back to when they applied for Living Education.

In these applications, the students outlined reasons they wanted to attend the program. He then asked us to compare our answers to how we live our daily life now that the program had begun. How well are  we living up to these goals? 

He provided a summary of the LE students’ reasons for wanting to attend the program. They were: 

  1. Become grounded in church teachings and improve spiritual life
  2. Learn lesson that will guide their lives
  3. Prepare for a future family
  4. Form relationships with young people of like mind and make friends
  5. Experience being part of the work of God at headquarters in Charlotte
  6. Be surrounded by others with similar goals
  7. Prepare for ultimate success in the future
  8. Prepare for personal and professional life based on the Bible
  9. Build confidence in interacting with others
  10. Acquire skills to become a Godly leader

Living Ed is giving us a chance to accomplish those goals. The material is in our grasp. How exactly, though, should we go about trying to accomplish them day-to-day? To answer that question, he offered a few key principles  to consider.

Stay committed and focused on your goals. 

Living up to the goals we set is more difficult than just writing out beautiful sounding words.Mr. Strain suggested that we try to fully internalize that we have been presented with a 9 month window of opportunity. Having a sense of urgency is crucial when it comes to once in a lifetime chances like the one we were given. 

“It will pass quickly,” he warned, “so every moment is one to take advantage of.” 

Aim to do what we should do before we do what we want to.

He explained that in life, and in this school year in particular, day to day activities end up being around 80% grunt work and 20% fun.

(But with Mr. McNair in charge, it may end up being 90% work and 10% fun!)

For people in any field, the hard work must be done before true leisurely work can be done. He stressed to the students to avoid letting the amount of work make us overwhelmed or demoralized, and to know that leisure will happen. Even if the work gets difficult, fun times will occur as well. 

An additional point he made is that for some, this is the first taste of freedom they’ve ever had. No parental supervision, no one constantly over their shoulders, and no one to make decisions for them but themselves. 

Attending LivingEd requires self discipline. 

Part of becoming an adult is to have prudence, and learning how to manage time and resources, as well as taking care of the physical state, are all components of that. As an example, he provided a quote by Ben Franklin:“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

A part of having effective time management is to seek God’s guidance DAILY in everything. Nothing is more important than personal study and prayer, and it can’t be replaced with some other form of study- even instruction in class is no substitute.

Develop effective communication skills 

The students were implored to get to know our class instructors, work supervisors, headquarters staff, and fellow students. If we need advice or help, these are the people to look for.

He reminded the students that our words, both spoken and written, are powerful tools, but can also be dangerous weapons if used incorrectly. In spoken communication, it is critical to be mindful of vocal tones and inflections, because those can cause misinterpretation of the message trying to be communicated. He also emphasized the danger of written communication such as texting, because once the message is sent, it can’t be taken back.

Make good friends

A final point that Mr. Strain made to help the LivingEd students succeed at accomplishing our goals is to make friends. As shown in Proverbs 18:24, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother”. 

Today, such a friend is called a best friend, and although it’s impossible  to be best friends with everyone, we can aim to be as close with as many students as possible. 

Certainly, being in God’s Church could enable having multiple true friends. Being surrounded by others with similar goals makes that process much easier.  However, finding one who sticks closer than a brother is a true blessing, so that is something we can aim to put effort into as well.

These nine months are a serious time. It’s imperative for us to make the most of it.  We were encouraged to think about personally being fertile ground where the sower is scattering seed in the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13, which will produce much fruit.

Mr. Strain finished the forum with the following powerful closing statement, which the students will be sure to hold on to for the duration of the year.

“Study hard, work hard, and you will have time and occasion to play hard. Success is yours to choose.”

Lexi Mitchell is a first-year student in the Living Education-Charlotte Program. She is from Long Island, New York. At home, she worked as a lifeguard and a swim instructor. Currently, she assists in the Living Education department as a social media manager and as a producer of written content. She enjoys reading, cooking, exercising, and spending time with family.