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Being a "Real Gardener"

August 20, 2018
By Mike Skaggs

Years ago, I remember looking forward to the time when my kids would hit the teen years and my yardwork days would come to an end. Oddly enough, once they were big enough to run the mower, I didn’t want to hand it over! I found that while I enjoyed the labor and needed the exercise, I appreciated the isolation provided by the mower’s roar; it allowed me precious time and space to think. In fact, TCA’s motto of “Student Success for God’s Glory” came to me while mowing my yard 15 years ago!

Mostly though, I like the sense of accomplishment yardwork provides. Bringing order to chaos by trimming trees or laying stones to create a garden just feels good. Cultivating, tending, and helping establish something that will last seems to meet a deep, God-given desire within us all.

Author Ray Bradbury says puts it this way in his novel Fahrenheit 451: “...the difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”

As we enter our 26th year as a school, I think we can learn from this.

We have been given a great foundation. We have a legacy of strong leadership to build on. Those who came before worked, prayed, and sacrificed together to see their God-given vision come to life. They left a garden that was in many ways well-tended and in order.

But the past is past. Today it is our time to maintain order in a world where, without a constant, intentional, caring touch, our garden will quickly fall into disarray and chaos.

So we work. We sacrifice. We pray. We dream. It will not be easy. The enemy wants to divide us and destroy the work, but we will not allow it. Instead, we will approach the next 25 years just like we did the first 25--together, in lock step, moving toward the common goal of helping students fulfill God’s purpose for their lives.

Thus, it is fitting that this year’s theme is “Stronger Together.” For only together can we move successfully into and through our next 25 years.

One day 25 years from now, we will proudly leave another generation with a garden that is well-tended, flourishing, and fit for use. But that doesn’t just happen. Thanks for joining us in the task.