Tuesday evening is “Run for God” class night. After the training run we meet together for a weekly lesson. The lesson not only nudges us forward as runners but also as Christians developing a stronger relationship with God. Run for God book author, Mitchell Hollis shared a story about a race he was fired up for. He wanted to achieve a personal record. He was a bit anxious the night before. As he reflected he began wishing he had “done more long runs, more speed work, more conditioning, more everything.” He shared these thoughts with a friend who responded, “Dan, at this point, the hay is in the barn. The race is tomorrow. Nothing you can do now.” His friend explained that the work had already been done and that there was no more time to cram. Dan raced the next day and used his “hay” and his training investments that contrasted to his lackluster training the previous year. He achieved a PR (personal record) for this run.
Dan then connected this to his spiritual life. The spiritual hay is the Word of God and the barn is one’s heart. Often we want a spiritual PR without putting in the investment. We “need to invest the time to know him better”. Powerful stuff.
This powerful principle made me think of recent testing. We are in the midst of state testing. A few weeks ago we completed the first round of ISTEP. Third graders are in the midst of the new IREAD which determines whether they will go on to fourth grade. In a few more weeks students will take another round of ISTEP. With teacher evaluations being tied to test scores and pay, stakes are high. There are many things about state testing that rubs me the wrong way but they are here to stay in some form or another. What can I say yes to? You can’t cram with ISTEP prep worksheets. I don’t think we should “teach to the test”. We teach to empower students. We teach to make a difference. We teach because it is important. Putting hay in the barn begins the first days of school with launching Reading and Writing Workshop. Putting hay in the barn is teaching the reader and writer, modeling strategies, giving practice time, conferring, listening, sharing, reflecting, building stamina and having a passion for what we do. Our investments will achieve PRs (personal records) for our students and ourselves.
Quotes are directly from the book, Run for God, by Mitchell Hollis.