A Reflection on Classical Education
By John Hayward
Over the course of my first trimester here at Covenant I had the opportunity at several gatherings with parents to share some personal reflections on how I have been blessed by my classical Christian education. Those reflections are the foundation for this new series of blogs. My goal in these blogs is to testify to how the Lord has blessed me through receiving the kind of education that we are seeking to give to the students at Covenant and to declare with the Psalmist, “You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told.” Psalm 40:5
The one orienting theme of all of the other blessings that I want to share over the next three blogs is that my teachers always had goals for me beyond what they could see and measure. They did not merely want me to pass a class, progress to the next grade, graduate, succeed at college and become an excellent employee. All of those things take work and are true accomplishments but I am blessed that my teachers always kept a different person in view than the student in front of them.
My teachers were working towards shaping who I would be ten years after college. They were concerned with what kind of citizen, church member, father and husband I would be. By aiming for a man beyond the boy they could see my teachers demonstrated their dependence on God. This is key because their desire to equip me to be an engaged citizen and church member and a faithful and loving father and husband was always shaped by their understanding that I had an eternal goal. To paraphrase C. S. Lewis from The Weight of Glory my teachers knew that they had no ordinary students; there were no mere mortals in their classrooms. It is not a casual thing to be human.
Despite the loud voices for quick and quantifiable results, my teachers held to a course determined by the desire to, as Paul says in Colossians 1:27-28 “make known… the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.”
I am grateful for the opportunity to invite you to “magnify the Lord with me” (Ps. 34:3) as I reflect on what God has done in my life in my education. I pray that it orients each of us to pray for our students. May they be similarly blessed by the education at Covenant and may we all join Paul in saying in Colossians 1:29 “For this [presenting people mature in Christ] I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.”