Keep Moving Forward!

As students, teachers and parents know by now, this COVID-19 Pandemic has resulted in mandates to stay-at-home as much as possible and this has necessitated having school-at-home. It is hard to estimate at this time the overall impact this shift has had or will have upon the education of children throughout our state. I'm sure that some kids have been setback while others seem to have quickly adapted and are continuing to move forward. It's amazing how resilient children seem to be!

Adults would do well to listen to children more. In their innocent lives, they often give us the best advice! One of our own, Charles William, has accepted the new virtual and distance learning required in these days in stride. He is even passionate in doing whatever he can to accomplish all the requirements that will insure his readiness for first grade in the fall. Just the other day, while leaning into his Chromebook, he boldly informed his mother, "I've got to keep moving forward!" Charlie has been hearing this wise counsel regularly during the daily learning sessions with his teacher. By now, he has heard this phrase repeated so often it has become a mantra of motivation!
"I've got to keep moving forward!"
Image compliments of

Now, as "advanced" as this little kinder grandson appears to be (and you would expect me as a doting grandfather to say this with great conviction!), he likely does not understand all of the comprehensive standards required for his progression to the next grade. But, I know that his excellent professional educator does!

She has been assigning him various exercises in reading, writing, re-telling stories, and math activities. I believe hearing his bold assertion first came in the context of reading levels. Although he comfortably reads at a "C" level, Charlie knows in his own mind that he has to be stretched to the next levels in order to become proficient. So, he's adamant about "reading up" to the "D" and "E" levels because as he says, "I have to be ready to go into 'furst gwade!'" He's still mastering some of his word pronunciations!

What direction are you going these days, spiritually? Are you slipping backwards or boldly moving forward? We are usually doing one or the other! I realize that it could be tempting to become complacent and neglect our daily quiet time or avoid sitting before screens for virtual studies and worship. Nurturing our spiritual life requires intentionality, especially in this climate of social distancing and forced isolation. It also helps to invite others to hold us accountable!

The Apostle Paul, one of our most inspiring servants of the Lord in the Bible, offers us an example of what a determined commitment to "moving forward" looks like! Often, Paul lived with less than ideal circumstances. This was certainly true while he was imprisoned in Rome and wrote, "I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward - to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back " (Philippians 3:12-14, MSG).

Paul used this athletic metaphor to describe his motivation. He desired to "know Christ" fully and was leaning into this goal of spiritual maturity like a runner at the finish line. Every aspect of his being was earnestly committed to this spiritual ambition. Undeterred, Paul knew the direction he was to go and was diligently moving toward the goal of Christlikeness! We too, must keep pace, know our goal and with God's help, "keep moving forward!"

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,
active churchman and
doting grandparent.


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