Monday, March 4, 2013

Education and Longing

(This post contains my welcome to guests at Veritas's Third Annual Benefit Dinner, March 2, 2013.)

The author of The Little Prince once said, “if you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” A Veritas education is extraordinary b/c this is precisely the kind of thing we’re aiming for. In the midst of a learning richly steeped in the broad liberal arts and sciences, using and passing on the classical tools of grammar, logic and rhetoric, we desire for our students to grow in wisdom and virtue and godliness.

We want them to long for the things of God, to serve and honor Christ, to love the beauty of his creation and to see God’s glory in it. We desire them to use all of their learning and gifts to be fruitful citizens of Christ’s kingdom.  Ultimately, all of our work in and out of the classroom is to pass on to our students the attitude of heart and mind that is reflected in the 42nd Psalm:
“As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” (Psalm 42:1-2)

We are committed to classical, Christ-centered education because we believe this is the best way to form in students love for the right kinds of things, and it is the best way to equip them for effective service as they are motivated by this love.

 By the grace of God, our students have extraordinary academic achievements: top 11% in the nation on the SAT, 21 National Merit scholars in eight years, acceptances to excellent colleges and universities such as Wheaton, Stanford, George Fox University, New Saint Andrews, Hillsdale, and over 70 others.
But what is truly extraordinary is not the tasks or the school work but the kinds of people we are diligently partnering with parents to form, day by day, year by year.  

Our ‘Portrait of a Graduate’—a set of characteristics we seek to cultivate in our graduates—guides our daily practice, even as we sing state facts in 3rd grade or discuss Milton’s Paradise Lost in high school. In the 'Portrait'  are our goals, such as:  we aim to graduate young men and women…
-who demonstrate godly discernment in all their dealings with the world
-who speak and write persuasively and wisely in any situation
-and who honor Christ by leading in their communities through their individual callings

Education  is not about job training or even college entrance, not even about what we like, but it is about who we will, and should, become. The total environment the student is in—curriculum, teachers, student culture, teaching methods—shapes the student consciously and unconsciously into the person he or she will become. It is inevitable. Where they learn and why they learn will influence them as much as, if not more than what they learn.

Classical, Christian education is education for living because it aims to shape lives. Veritas aims, in the end, to cultivate a longing in our students for wisdom and truth, for the things of God and for God himself.
And in the floundering and foundationless world of modern schooling options, that is extraordinary.

Thank you again for being here this evening and for your support of this important endeavor. 

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