I have always been amazed at how well our students from all different cultures, backgrounds, religions, homes, etc., get along with one another. Our staff, and in particular our principal and dean of students, spend quite a bit of time sorting out conflicts between students, but considering our kids are together 24 hours a day, the conflict is minimal. Our students often have a “we’re in this together” mentality, and when times are tough they really do seem to love and care for one another.
There are some advantages and disadvantages to being a preacher’s kid, or in our setting being the child of an Oneida staff member. One of these advantages at Oneida is growing up with kids from all over the world and making friends who will last for a lifetime.
A recent event reminded me of something I’ve always believed, and that is our students really do love and care about one another. This recent event involved my youngest son, who is 11 years old. I must say—an unbiased opinion, I might add–he is an adorable and lovable little fellow. He came as a surprise to my wife and me, but we cannot imagine our lives without him.
During a middle school basketball game, he suffered an arm injury and we decided it was best to take him for an X-ray. As we left the gym and campus, it wasn’t really our faculty and staff, although they did show concern, who expressed the most concern for our son. It was our students. As we left the gym, many kids asked him if he was all right and said kind things to him.
As we walked past our girls’ dormitory toward our car, the girls who were outside on the swing set could see he was injured. They asked him what happened, wished him well, and one of them even told him she loved him. This trend continued once we returned home from the hospital, as our oldest two children could not do enough to help their little brother.
Our founder, James Anderson Burns, believed the way to stop the feuds in Clay County was to educate the children and teach them about the love of Christ, and in turn, to love one another. One hundred and eighteen years later, we continue to instill the love of our Creator in our young people. We work hard every day to show our students how much God loves them and to teach them to love Him and others and to commit their lives to His service.
The greatest love known to man is to lay down our lives for others. Perhaps some of our current young people will do just that with their lives once they leave Oneida.