By September 30, 2020SavED by Grace


By Darren Ellwein

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How often have you used the word crazy in the past six months? As an administrator, I continue to tell people you never say, “I have seen it all.” I never thought I would see the day when school around the world would close their doors for weeks at a time. It was and is a crazy time! The word ‘crazy’ contains opposing definitions similar to our polarized political climate right now.  According to Merriam-Webster, it can mean “not mentally sound”, “impractical”, or “passionately preoccupied or obsessed.”  

Recently, I have heard educators say or post that we are crazy to be in school, while others comment we are crazy NOT to be in school. Whatever your view, a portion of us are crazy!  

In my area of the country, we started educating all students in the building on August 20. Yup, I know. Crazy! But this post is not about the right or wrong of opening schools during 2020 COVID-19. It is about perspective.

The problem is most people are relying on systems to get them through this crazy time.  Systems provide a ‘how to’ formula to navigate situations, but systems can never replace relationships. Who is your perspective right now? Are you perceiving the world events through systems created by man or are you using Jesus’ perspective?  

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:14).

Jesus is crazy (passionately preoccupied) about us. He is telling us to slow down, stop, and just be still. Jesus desires us to be with him. Right now, shut off the world and invoke silence. Then, talk to Him. Tell him your fears and frustrations. Praise Him for family, provisions, and the greatest job—educator.  

Picture ‘crazy about you’ Jesus walking on water as He moved to the disciples on the Sea of Galilee. The very problem (water and waves) causing stress to the disciples was used by Jesus. Jesus walked on the water in a crazy example of love. Could Jesus be using your trials to come closer to you?

Today, I encourage you to pause and reflect on the person of Jesus. Each morning at my school, I walk the hallways and pray for Jesus to be present and real. I pray for adults and kids to be resilient and creative. I pray for safety.  

Oh, and speaking of crazy, I hear a comment rolling in my head from my pastor…

“What crazy person would die for guilty people?” I cannot fully understand the obsession Jesus had to die for me…for you. Thank goodness our lives are marked for eternity through Christ’s sacrifice. A guilty life washed by the blood of Christ. I want to encourage you to be an example of His joy and grace in this crazy year.

Darren Ellwein is a middle school principal in Harrisburg, South Dakota.  He has created a culture of empowerment for adults and learners in his building.  His school has embraced the Makerspace movement, created design thinking courses and entrepreneur classes.  Kids advocate for themselves by creating their schedules daily through differentiated offerings from teachers.  In 2019 he co-authored the book, The Revolution, through Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc.  In 2017 he was selected Digital Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.  On a personal level, Darren is a fourth generation farmer in South Dakota.  He is married to Tracee, and they have three children – Caleb, Ella and Ember.  Can’t forget their three dogs – Emmitt, Izzy and Olaf!  You can connect with him on Twitter and Instagram (@dellwein) and LinkedIn.  Check out his website: to see his book and posts.

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