We often hear people say, “Everything is bigger in Texas.” I found some “giants” in Texas with the Texas Baptist Church Weekday Educators Association. There were giants who came from many different denominations, Protestants, and Catholics, under the giant leadership of Mary Ann Bradberry, Executive Director.
Giant appetites for learning, giant enthusiasm, giant talents and giant appreciation are how I think of the teachers and directors of early childhood education programs I met last week in Austin. I am eager to see if the ones I meet in Dallas in a few weeks can measure up to the Austin teachers and directors in church programs.
Giant church sanctuaries are great places for keynote speakers with their beautiful surroundings and great media equipment and screens, but it is always the people, not the places that capture my attention. Directors of long-standing programs with giant reputations for quality were pointed out by other program directors striving to build their programs and reputations. Young directors sat alongside experienced veterans and asked the big questions on building relationships among the staff, conquering their fears speaking before their boards and thirsting for advice from the experienced giant directors.
Church programs often struggle against giant odds to secure the personnel, the equipment and the tuitions sufficient for their needs. Yet, many have developed as giants, recognized for their quality programs. Even giants worry about how they are perceived and their children received by the public schools in their areas. Giant efforts are needed to communicate across the divides often felt between the church programs and the public elementary schools. The quality of the education the children receive is a giant plus for the next program that receives them, in Texas and beyond.