Beyond School Culture

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One of our goals as a classical Christian school is to create a culture.  What does this mean?  It means (first negatively) that we are not trying to manufacture straight-A students, package them up, and ship them off to the Ivies. Instead it means (positively) that we are building a community of like-minded families centered around the Gospel, and therefore centered around the rich conversation of ideas, art, events, and people that the pageant of world history has provided for us.  This is not (again negatively) to be a culture of "school days" and "classrooms"; it is to be a culture of families who are interested in stuff that is true and beautiful, all the way down, side-to-side, every day of the week.  What is learned in school is taught in the home (and vice-versa), whatever is learned is respected, and all knowledge is understood to be God's knowledge.  Our goal is to create a culture where we teach truth diligently to our children, where we talk of it when we sit on the back porch, when we hike the foothills, when we rest, and when we wake up (Deut. 6:7).  In short, we never don't.  If this happens, the good grades and fulfilling careers are just going to come.  Being comes before doing, and we want to get who we are right.

With that in mind, I'd like to encourage all of you to help your children develop a sense of unity between school and home.  This is a fundamental aspect of culture-creation.  Do they see one set of standards inside their classrooms and another at home?  To bless your children tangibly throughout this school year, focus on four key points:

  • Be a daily rock of support for your children, overflowing with physical affection.  (They need it.)
  • In front of your children, support their teachers as experts with authority -- particularly in times of difficulty or conflict.
  • Require your children to do hard things.  (This is a beautiful and crucial part of preparing for independence.)
  • Be interested (really) in what your children are learning.

We worship a God of ultimate love and endless gifts.  But whom the Lord loves, he disciplines (Prov. 3:12).  A wonderful and sobering balance!  Let's love our children and our students as God loves us -- no less -- and give constant thanks to him for his good gifts.

Grace and Peace, Nate Ahern