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Creamer column: Back to school

By the time you read this, many students across North Carolina will be back at school. Some students are excited about learning something new. Some see school as a social environment, a place to hang out with friends. Some see school as a place to escape an unpleasant home life. We all know that some students donít want to come back to school for a variety of reasons.
All of these young minds, whether they want to be at school or not, will be returning to the classrooms across our state and our country to begin the process of learning once again. Teachers have had the opportunity to rest, attend conferences and workshops and discover our own ways to rejuvenate our energy and excitement. The moment has arrived for the magic of education to begin.
The challenge to get these young minds to open and to think differently drives teachers to creative ways to approach our teaching material. This generation does not learn like previous generations. Their exposure to technology and media has changed the way they perceive the world and accept new ideas. Helping students think differently, solve problems and learn how to get along with people from different backgrounds are all a part of the educational process.
With the beginning of school comes the beginning of another sports season and plenty of extra curriculars. Most of these activities are led by the same people who teach your children all day long. Teachers coach sports and sponsor clubs, taking extra time out of our lives to inspire young people to excel in their own unique way outside the classroom. Once again, teachers are there to inspire our youth to go beyond themselves and compete on the athletic field and in student organizations.
My parents used to tell me that communities were centered around school and church when they were young. Even though there is competition and peopleís lives are very busy, schools are still an important part of every community. We are just beginning football season and local stadiums will fill up on Friday nights to watch the hometown boys give their best. Bands will march in amazing unison to thrill audiences and parents will be in the concession stands selling ballgame favorites.
Yes, schools are still important. Churches also play a significant role for many people in our communities. I love being involved in a church. I love to connect with other believers and hear about their spiritual walks. Hearing other peopleís stories, their testimonies, often encourages me in my walk.
Church is a place where we can pray for others. God calls us to look into the needs of others and to pray for them. He also challenges us to pray for our enemies. Church is a safe place to go when life hands you a curve ball. While I enjoy praying for others, I sometimes need prayer, too. Finding the love and support of my church family can give me the strength to press on.
Jesus taught us that faith is built on a relationship with God. He wants us to know him intimately and he wants us to share our lives with him. While praying to God is vitally important to our spiritual growth and maturity, he wants us to go beyond prayer and just talk with him. Talk with God like you would your best friend. He loves you more than anyone you know. God also wants you to learn to love and connect with your family. Itís not always easy to connect with other members of a church. Each person has their own unique connection with God and learning about their relationship can impact your own relationship with God.
I want to encourage you to strengthen and maintain your relationship with God and to connect with a local body of believers. Churches are not perfect because they are filled with imperfect people. If you will look you will discover that churches are filled with people who are struggling to follow the same God you are seeking. They can encourage you and you can encourage them. We all win when we share our experiences, our prayers, our faith and our love for God, which has the power to change lives and our world.
Doug Creamer teaches marketing at East Davidson High School. Email him at doug@dougcreamer.com.

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