Being Our Best Selves

God wants us all to be our best. He has given us different talents and we can glorify Him by using, sharing and multiplying our gifts. Remember the parable of the three servants from Matthew 25: 14-30? “… He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone.” At the end of the story, we learn, “To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance.” God favored the two servants who took the money given to them and turned it into something more and He was clearly disappointed in the third servant who buried his talents (Greek word for money). Likewise, we can glorify God by using and multiplying our talents and being our best selves!

Last summer, our Elementary and Junior High staff read the book NOT A FAN: Becoming a Committed Follower of Jesus Christ by Kyle Idleman. Why not take some time to seriously evaluate that most important relationship in our life? Lori Jensen, our awesome Elementary/Junior High Principal, has already assigned our next reading:  Everybody Always by Bob Goff. If it’s anything like his last book, Love Does (last summer’s read), I’m sure we will love it! Just like our students, it’s important that we keep our brains in shape!

Another way we can maximize the gifts God has entrusted to us is improving our potential by understanding how we learn or how we can learn better. At SVC, we continually evaluate ourselves and the job we’re doing in the classroom. “How can we become better educators? How can we create a classroom full of students who want to learn? How can we make our students more engaged learners?”  For our faculty, the summer and Friday afternoons provide opportunity for times not just to develop our relationship with Christ, but also to learn how to connect with our students and develop better teaching strategies.

In one of our teacher training sessions, we learned about the importance of involving both sides of a student’s brain for more engaged learning. Generally speaking, our left side of the brain is more logical while our right side is more creative. Lessons that engage the whole brain improve memory, retention and recall, and thus … learning. Ever wonder if you are left or right brain dominant? Here is a 30-Second Brain Test by Sommer & Sommer.

So, can we actually help our brains learn better? Yes! Being an educator is one of the few jobs where we go to work every day with the intent of changing (or growing) someone’s brain. It’s a huge part of the reason we continually learn ourselves. But it’s not all about how teachers teach. Creating the best learning environment is also dependent upon giving the brain its best advantage.

To perform at its best, our brains need plenty of water, rest and proper nutrition. Additionally, our emotions can affect how we learn. Stress can negatively affect learning and memory recall. Learn more about your brain in this awesome, seven-minute video: The Learning Brain.

“We are fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). Our brains are no less amazing. Let yours glorify God.


BibleGateway. (n.d.). Retrieved from 25:14-30&version=NLT

Does the brain test measure knowledge or brain development? (n.d.). Retrieved from

T. (2010, April 16). The Learning Brain. Retrieved from

With a B.S. in Business Administration from University of Redlands, an M.A. in Education with an emphasis in Educational Technology, and years of experience in the technology sector (including as a systems analyst and software trainer), Barb Shaw is highly qualified to lead our Elementary/JH STEM & Computer Applications instruction. She appreciates her role at SVC because she is able to guide students to become problem-solvers at the same time she is helping them discover that they can be loving Christians who can influence and transform the world. These are just a few of the many reasons why Barb was named one of the “Top Teachers in Orange County” by Parenting OC.

Barb and her husband of 25 years, Rob, are parents of two SVC Warriors – Ryan (a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University) and Jordan (an SVC sophomore who recently attained the rank of Eagle Scout).  Barb is an avid gardener and world traveler (19 countries and territories … and counting).

You may reach Barb at

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