Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

The Freshman Boys Life Skills class sits with Buz Menhardt, associate pastor of the New Market church.

Self-Discipline: Our Spring Valley Academy Freshman Are Gaining Life Skills

Story by Buz Menhardt

Mrs. Laura Short, the teacher of the Freshman Life Skills class, invited me to meet with the young men’s section. The semester, themed “Do Hard Things,” includes discussion of challenging subjects and practical handyman skills. I admit, we drifted from the suggested topic, as I shared my personal rehabilitation journey from COVID-19 pneumonia. I had been home for 15 months, after being discharged from a 3 1/2-month hospital stay.

I told the young men I choose daily to exercise. I have learned if I want to gain strength and increase pulmonary function, I must work at it. Feelings don’t have a vote, because if I don’t do, I won’t do. I cannot ride my bike or miss a CrossFit session just because I don’t feel like it. Every day, I decide to work out, even if I don’t feel like it. I choose to do what’s best for my healing and recovery.

Which moved the discussion to the importance of self-discipline. That’s when Emmanuel Matagaro (pictured with Pastor Buz Menhardt)  raised his hand and wanted to know how he could learn to be self-disciplined. I paused and affirmed him for asking such a mature question. Often, we best learn self-discipline when others hold us accountable and keep us focused on our personal, spiritual and academic goals. As class ended, I asked Emmanuel if I could email his mother and share with her our class conversation. He agreed. Here is the email exchange with Lillian, Emmanuel’s mother:

Hello Lillian,

I must tell you, when I visited Emmanuel’s Life Skills class on Tuesday morning, he asked a very mature question. We were discussing self-discipline, and he wanted to know how he could best learn self-discipline when he would be out on his own. His own house … etc.

I told the young men that coming to a boarding school was the beginning of learning how to be disciplined, how to follow a routine of success. I’m sure if you ask him about the class discussion, he will tell. He seems to be doing very well.

Blessings to my friend.

Here is Lillian’s reply:

It is true. As soon as he came home [for home leave], after dinner he washed the dishes. I was pleasantly surprised.

Then he sat down and wrote his To-Do list for tomorrow. He even went to bed without a fight. Oh, he is a changed young man. I like the new him. I cannot thank every member of SVA enough.

God bless you all and give you strength to encourage and mold the youth in their life journey.


Emmanuel’s Mom

I am thankful Shenandoah Valley Academy is a place where young people learn about God in such practical ways.

Buz Menhardt serves as the associate pastor of the New Market church.

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