September is an exciting time for us each year. There is a bustle in the air as our teachers make lesson plans and set up classrooms for the new year. It is wonderful to have our students here again!
We have adopted a theme this year of joy on the journey. This text from Colossians chapter one expresses well the prayer we have for our students for this school year:
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
We pray that our students will each feel the Lord’s pleasure this year. In that spirit, I wanted to suggest a few ways to help bring joy to your journey at Covenant this year.
1. Pray with other parents
When I think of our mission and how it is embodied in the growth and education of each individual student, I am humbled. How could we possibly be up to the task set before us to teach students to love to learn? Or to help them see and submit to the Lordship of Christ in every sphere of life? Or to shape their minds with a distinctly Christian view of the world? We need your prayers!
Did you know that there is a prayer team that meets together almost every Thursday morning from 8:00 to 9:00 to pray for our students and teachers? Please contact our prayer team coordinator, Dana Kenny, if you would like to join.
2. Talk frequently with your teachers and dean
We are so blessed with the faculty we have here at Covenant. Our teachers love Jesus, love your child, and are committed to helping your child grow and mature this year, both in what they learn in their classes, but also in the habits, skills, and virtues they acquire. As one who once hiked the entire Appalachian Trail, I know that any long journey worth taking will involve some missteps and stumbles along the way. I encourage you to keep in close contact with your teacher – we want to see each child joyfully reach the summit at Covenant this year.
3. Equip Yourselves
The classical path is not a wide thoroughfare, it’s not intended to be easy, but it leads to such a good place. You need to strengthen yourself for the journey. In addition to praying with other parents, and keeping good communication with teachers, it’s also helpful to learn more about classical education and why we do the things we do. There are some great resources to help parents and students better understand what we’re about. Here are a few:
- Classical Me, Classical Thee: Squander Not Thine Education by Rebekah Merkle This is a terrific new book to students written by a former classical Christian student. The classical Christian movement has done a pretty good job of explaining what we’re doing to parents, but we haven’t always done a great job explaining it to our students themselves. This book would be great for 6th grade and up.
- BaseCampLive podcasts. These free 20 minute podcasts are a terrific way for parents to learn more about classical education. Subscribe with iTunes or RSS. I look forward to the new one every week.
- Classical Refreshment – We will be hosting a series of morning coffees this fall to encourage parents on their journey at Covenant. Come and join fellow parents for coffee and discussion about classical Christian education. Please RSVP with Dana.Mershon@DiscoverCovenant.com to attend.
- September 21: “Joy on the Journey: Hints from the Head of School”
- November 2: “Help! School Makes My Child Anxious.”
- December 7: “Top Tips from Parents Who’ve Gone Before”
4. Look Forward to the Fruit
One piece of advice I consistently give to families is to always look forward to the fruit. Of course there are going to be challenges along the way. We are trying to lead students toward maturity not indulgence. Toward wisdom and discernment and self-control and joy. We are teaching them to be worthy possessors of freedom! When a struggle or difficulty comes, I urge you to remember where the road leads, and the fruit that awaits you at the end of that journey.
As I consider the kind of person each graduate is on his or her way to becoming, I am encouraged. They have spent years being shaped in their affections to love and value good and beautiful things. Their minds have been sharpened by an attention to logic so that they are not easily “blown here and there by every wind of teaching” that comes along. (Eph 4:14). They can speak and write persuasively so that they can be a voice for truth in our world.
One way to get a foretaste of that fruit is to come out and enjoy our community events throughout the year. Our Poetry festival, Christmas Concert, Spring Concert, Art reception, Senior Thesis, and Graduation, to name a few. Come, taste and see the fruit that awaits your child as he or she journeys toward graduation.
John Henry Newman, a profound thinker from another era, once described how a liberal arts education can form a person in extraordinary ways. Such a person’s mind, he writes,
is almost prophetic from its knowledge of history; it is almost heart-searching from its knowledge of human nature; it has almost supernatural charity from its freedom from littleness and prejudice; it has almost the repose of faith, because nothing can startle it; it has almost the beauty and harmony of heavenly contemplation, so intimate it is with the eternal order of things and the music of the sphere. (Newman, The Idea of a University, 105).
Only by God’s grace do we have any hope of approaching the vision that Newman describes. But by His grace, I pray we will see glimpses of such fruit growing in our students this year at Covenant.
Head of School