When our oldest son began his first year at WCGS in 2017, we weren’t sure how his transition would be. We moved to Wheaton from Wisconsin over the summer, and we were still settling in. We thought Caleb would be a little nervous about changing schools but never expected what eventually unfolded. Our sweet Caleb was overcome with emotion and sadness on his first day of school. Part way through the day he raised his hand and told his teacher, “I think I am about to miss my mom,” and the tears just started flowing for him. They didn’t stop, for months.
Caleb’s sweet-natured, obedient, happy personality had been replaced by fear. He didn’t eat, he couldn’t sleep, and he absolutely refused to go to his classroom. In all, Caleb missed the entire first quarter of school. This time was so very dark and scary for our son, yet, the light of God shone brightly through many people at WCGS.
Though we were brand new to the school, we were embraced by the entire community.
We never felt unwelcomed, like a burden, or like we needed to leave. I received nightly phone calls from Mr. Burgess, my husband received phone calls and texts from Mr. Painter, and Caleb’s first grade teacher made a special visit to our house and shared tears with us as we worked through this anxiety. And, nurse Amy...
Eventually, Amy became Caleb’s “person” at school. She was absolutely determined to help him overcome his fears. Amy met Caleb at our car each morning to bring him into school. She sat with him in class, sometimes for an hour or more. She came to work an hour early for several months to be there for him when he arrived. And, she was a willing recipient of morning texts letting her know Caleb’s level of nervousness until after Christmas break. Through all of this, though, the thing that sticks with me the most is a quick conversation she and I shared. As I was thanking her during our first really hard week, Amy’s response was, “Of course I am doing this for Caleb, but I am also doing this for you.”
You see, not only did the people of WCGS reach out and love my son, but they loved my entire family. Amy saw my scared, breaking mama’s heart and she stepped in. The entire school prayed over Caleb and our family. Women I didn’t know offered hugs and support in the school parking lot. Caleb’s sweet classmates never teased him; instead, they sent him notes of encouragement and cheered for his victories, no matter how small. Our family was so new and so scared, but we were so very loved in a way we had never before experienced.
It is this steadfast love that has made all the difference in Caleb’s life to this day. I truly believe that along with the saving power of Jesus Christ, the love offered by so many is what pulled Caleb out of his darkness. His mind told him to fear, but his heart felt safety and love. His mind told him to run and hide, but his heart told him that this school was where he belonged. His mind told him that these new people were scary, but his heart saw the love they gave to him and his family. And in time, this unwavering love won. WCGS showed Caleb and our family the genuine, forgiving, powerful love of Christ. And eventually, Caleb’s fear could not fight that love any longer. The lies were replaced with truth.
It has been nearly two years since Caleb’s struggle with anxiety began. In these two years, he and our entire family have grown so very much. Caleb’s anxiety is not gone. It still spikes from time to time. But Caleb knows he is loved so deeply by this school, and more importantly, by Jesus. These truths give Caleb a foundation to stand on when things feel out of control. Our family never would have asked for this anxiety, yet, it has drawn each of us closer to the Lord. We have learned our own limitations and we have seen the strength that comes from a community of believers. What a blessing the love of WCGS has been to us. WCGS is so much more than a school. I am grateful for the wonderful academics the school offers, but, that hardly compares to the spiritual formation taking place inside. God is alive and working in the hearts of this community and our family considers it a tremendous blessing to call this school ours.
Are you looking for a school that nurtures and cares for the whole child? Come and visit Wheaton Christian Grammar School today to see if we would be a good fit for your family.