I’ve shared in previous editions of “the News” how Gretchen and I came to have a commitment to classical Christian education. It started when Tabby moved through her toddler years and approached school age. We began to think about different school options available to us and ask our peers about the schools their children attended. The options and the advice we received were all over the map.
Eventually, we decided that we needed to approach our question differently. We were asking, “What’s best for our child right now,” a short-term question that, more often than not, leads to short-term decision making. The kind of decision making that, as hard as we try to resist it, is often led by our child’s immediate happiness and our own level of satisfaction.
Instead, we needed to start at the end, asking, “What kind of adult do I want my child to be?” Then, working backwards, we could get a set of guidelines that helped bring “right now” into the light of a long-term goal, pursuit of which would no doubt bring hardship and conflict along the way. But if pursuing the vision meant dealing with the hardship and conflict for the “right now,” then that’s what it took. In the end, we decided that we want our adult children to be like the men of Issachar, with the ability to understand the times in which they live, and know what God’s people ought to do in response (1 Chron 12:32).
When I came to Covenant as a teacher in 2009, I came in part because I saw why the classical philosophy of education, paired with a Biblical world and life view, has historically proven to produce “men (and women) of Issachar.” It gave me the picture of practically applying Paul’s challenge to the Romans: resist the world’s attempts to push you into a mold of its own image, but be changed more and more into the image of God by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2).
In other words, the mind is the entryway into a life of transformation, learning to think well about God, His creation, and the challenges that come with “the times” in which we live so that we can figure out how, in any and every situation that arises, to respond to the glory of God. The express goal of classical Christian education.
Here at Covenant we keep that vision in mind with what we call our “Portrait of a Graduate,” which we use as a guide when we ask questions like, “What kind of teacher do I need to be? What curriculum should we develop? What textbooks and resources should we use?” When we ask those questions, we look at out “Portrait of a Graduate” and answer, “Ones that work to produce those kinds of students.”
Every year we have an opportunity to see how closely we come to hitting that mark, despite all of our failings, shortcomings, and challenges. We see it every May, when our Seniors walk across the stage and into the phase the life the Lord has in store for them.
And you have an opportunity to see it, too, by coming to the Senior Thesis Presentations
this Thursday afternoon when this year’s graduating class demonstrates their ability to: “think broadly, deeply, and critically about a wide variety of subjects. They have the ability to organize and analyze information, generate original thought, and persuasively convince others of an argument.”
So I would encourage you to come by for one of the two presentation sessions. Come see the way our graduates have been trained to think, understand, and respond. Every year when I do that, I see right in front of me, in flesh and blood, a picture of the vision I have for my children. And I’m blessed by it.