The Power of Immersion

The picture above is the earliest picture on record of me as a student. If the uniform style I am wearing is throwing you off, let me explain:

In 1968 my older brother, my two-year-old sister, and I climbed aboard a jumbo jet with our parents for our first transcontinental flight. Destination: Yokosuka, Japan. Our father, a new medical doctor, voluntarily signed up for an extended tour of duty with the United States Navy which, according to him, was far better for our family than had he been drafted into the armed services to serve in the center of the Vietnam conflict. Our three –and-a-half year stint in Japan was certainly no vacation, but our years there were packed with adventure after adventure.

We settled near the beach in a traditional Japanese country home, and we dived into the beauty of the Japanese culture and geography at every opportunity.  We ate sushi, octopus, pickled jellyfish and all sorts of curried and tempura foods. My parents learned how to drive on the left hand side of the street, and I remember how they struggled to master numerous Japanese phrases to help us in our travels.

I was too young to join my older brother at the nearby American school so my parents enrolled me in an all Japanese preschool where no English was spoken. Within six months I had developed remarkable fluency in Japanese.  I even found myself dreaming in my second language.

This is the power of immersion.

In reality, all of us experience the power of immersion whether we are conscious of this fact or not. This is probably at the heart of the author’s admonition to us in Psalm 1 where he writes, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.”  God doesn’t want us to conform to the way of the wicked, the sinners, and the mockers.  If we immerse ourselves in that world we will become like them. Instead, God wants us to meditate on His law day and night.  That kind of immersion yields fruit in abundance.

Every one of us is immersed in a particular culture for better or for worse. We cannot escape this inevitability. We can, however, make wise choices about the kinds of influences we allow to shape us and our children.

This is one of the main reasons I have been a raving fan of Christian schooling for the past thirty seven years.  Children enrolled in Plumstead Christian School have the blessing of being immersed in a Christian culture, surrounded by people who encourage them to think biblically, serve effectively, and lead Christ-centered lives. These experiences, I believe, will have a lasting and positive impact on them as they live out their calling in the world and as they impact their own children, their neighbors, their co-workers, and their churches for Christ and His Kingdom.

I was reminded anew of the beauty of our school culture when I took a walk through the hallways of our Middle and Upper School today.  Affixed to one wall was an announcement for a new Middle School Girls Bible Study that read, “Who You Are & Whose You Are: A fun, meaningful study about being a chosen child of the king and the beauty and strength that comes from that!”  In a world that is barraging our girls (and boys) with a very different

message about identity, I am encouraged that our community counters the world’s perverted messages with the truth of who we are in Christ.

What are we immersing ourselves in?  What immersive experiences are our children being exposed to?


These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.        Deuteronomy 6:6-8


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