Every day, as the sun begins to rise over the San Cristobal volcano, shining its rosy hues into each corner and crevice of the buildings, nearly 200 students run through the big, black gates of the Amigos for Christ Academy. As a now-grown adult and a blessed member of the Academy staff, I, almost daily, ponder how and why kids love to run every place they go.
In children, the excitement of going from one place to another overcomes the sensible adult-notion to “walk with caution” or “stop and think before moving forward.” Children don’t feel this same need. Rather, they feel the need to arrive in their destination in the most joyful way they can… by running.
May 9, 2021 was similar to any other day. Students came piling into the school with the same reckless abandonment and enthusiasm, as if they were entering a theme park. However, that day was a little bit different. Rather than their usual tidy, navy blue uniforms with perfectly ironed white shirts, adorned with bows and ties, a giggling mob full of police officers, doctors, engineers, and pastry chefs ran hand-in-hand towards the school cafeteria for breakfast.
May 9th was Career Day, and our usual Disneyland excitement was dialed up about 100 notches. The school day began with Math, English and Technology classes being taught to rooms full of the most adorable, miniature versions of every different type of professional. We even had our very own paleontologist, complete with his plastic dinosaur, which he carried around from classrooms to recess and through walkways.
The day culminated with the much-anticipated event. Professionals from all around Chinandega and the surrounding communities came to Amigos Academy to share presentations about what it means it be in their shoes, all the while inspiring students on what they need to do to get there.
All afternoon, students beamed with pride, as they sported their life-like costumes, alongside of the real-life version, and answered the favorite question of the day, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The funny thing is, when you translate the question to Spanish, students are not asked what they want to be, but rather who they want to be… “Quién quieres ser cuando seas grande?” We pray for the academic and professional success of our students, but you see, at the end of the day, we don’t really mind how many of our students become nurses or business executives or firefighters.
We care more about who we are teaching these beautiful children to be. In every fiber of my being, I know that God has placed the Academy and every, single individual within it here with a unique and special purpose. To guide and inspire these children to become the very best version of the person God created them to be. To dream beyond any and every human measure. To strive for an excellence that they didn’t know they had within them. And to know deep in their hearts their value and importance, through the eyes of the Lord. This is the identity that defines who they really are.
On Career Day, it dawned on me how truly important it is to run. Every day, as our students run through those black gates, they are running toward something none of us can see or touch. They are running toward their futures and toward their dreams. They are running toward who they want to be. I pray that God will give me the same wisdom and joy that these children possess to wake up each day and do the very same thing: run.