Saturday, August 27, 2011

Running with the Body

I had a great time with many of you at the annual Knights 5K this morning.  A special thanks to Bill and Carol Johncock for the endless hours they put into planning this event.  Of course the race itself is secondary to the real purpose.  The Knights 5K connects the school with the community, and allows us to display the grace God has shown us with folks all over the Catawba Valley.  I don't have exact numbers on this, but it appeared that about half of those who ran the race were not from HCA.  With over 360 registered racers, this means that we had the privilege of showing almost 200 other people how the body of Jesus Christ functions in a non-traditional church setting.  Sometimes we compartmentalize our walk with the Lord so much that we forget that we are the Church, even when we are not in "church".  I am excited to continue to work with other believers as we serve the Lord through everyday life, Sunday through Saturday.  Today was no exception. 

HCA Student Runners
The Start

Here is a sight you rarely see...a man pulling a suitcase down
the road during the 5K.
Steve Reese finishing strong

p.s. - Several people asked why I did not actually run in the race today.  Truth is, I am protesting the fact that Bill will not add a category for fat junk-food eaters.  I would be dominant!  Maybe next year. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Chuck Colson Plugs Classical Education

I thought each HCA family might be interested in reading this commentary from the August 24th publication of Chuck Colson's Breakpoint ministry.  Most of you will be familiar with Mr. Colson since he reads these commentaries each morning on Christian radio, and is highly respected in Christian circles around the country.  With our children receiving a Classical Christian education at HCA, this article should be an encouragement to us all. 

This is the link to the "2 Minute Warning" he refers to in the article:
Classical Schools

Back to a Better Education

Rating: 4.50

School's out for the summer. But let's do a little thinking about modern education -- how it's failed us and what alternatives we have.
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Chuck  Colson
     In a 1947 speech, the great British writer Dorothy Sayers asked, “Has it ever struck you as odd . . . that today, when the proportion of literacy throughout Western Europe is higher than it has ever been, people should have become susceptible to the influence of advertisement and mass propaganda to an extent hitherto unheard of and unimagined?”
     Sayers then went on to wonder whether it’s simply because of the rise in mass communications — or something worse.  “Do you sometimes have an uneasy suspicion,” she asked, “that the product of modern educational methods is less good than he or she might be at disentangling fact from opinion and the proven from the plausible?”
     I certainly do have that suspicion. So-called “modern” education was already failing students in Sayers’s time, and it certainly is today.  That’s why so many people, including Christians, misunderstand facts, or they're swayed by specious arguments, or they have no idea how to properly express ideas in ways that are coherent and believable. Modern America is rife with the telltale signs of miseducation.
     Today on my "Two-Minute Warning," which I urge you to watch at, I talk about how modern education developed, how it is undermined by moral relativism, and how, exactly, it differs from what is called classical education.
     What is a classical education? Classical education advocate Susan Wise Bauer puts it this way: “Classical education depends on a three-part process of training the mind. The early years of school are spent in absorbing facts, systematically laying the foundations for advanced study. In the middle grades, students learn to think through arguments. In high school . . . they learn to express themselves.
     Classical education uses natural developmental stages to train students to discern between true and false facts, understand good and bad arguments, and develop the ability to turn their thoughts in to intelligent words. What more could we hope for our kids?
     It’s the kind of education that prepares men and women for all areas of life. Plumbers, engineers, executives, housewives all will have to sort out facts and arguments and make themselves understood.
     Classical education also trains young minds to think holistically about life. Most modern education is compartmentalized. Classical education teaches that astronomy is related to economics is related to philosophy. Truth in this model forms a rational whole, which is at the heart of a coherent worldview.
     Now, while Classical education doesn’t have to be Christian, much of it is Christian. And when the classical approach is mixed with Christianity, the result is powerful. Children become men and women who have taken a Christian worldview to heart.
     If you have children or grandchildren, let me encourage you to seriously consider classical education. More and more communities have classical schools. If yours doesn’t, maybe you can be part of an effort to establish one.
     Again, for more, go see my "Two-Minute Warning" at Modern education has been failing students and society for decades. We need — and in classical education we have — a better alternative.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Blessed with a capital Bee

Exactly one year ago, the day was flowing smoothly, and I was ready to slap the "success" label onto the first day of school, when we received the call.  As I was walking through the main office, Janie Lambert answered the phone, receiving word that some kids had been stung by bees up at Neill Clark (Rec Center next door).  So, I sprinted up the path from here to there to the rescue.  When I entered the building, I found 24 crying first graders and a couple adults in a panic.  Several of the kids had shed their shirts, and the ladies who had arrived before me were applying salve by the bucket.  The little tykes had stirred up a nest of yellow jackets, and the nasty little bugs had certainly gotten their revenge.  Many in the class had been stung, several of them multiple times. 

I made my best attempt to reassure a bunch of six-year-olds that this was just a temporary trial in their lives, and that in a few days, we would all look back in amusement.  They were having no part of it.  As a matter of fact, they all refused to go back outside at all.  Since this was already the afternoon, and pickup was coming in less than an hour, we needed a plan.  So, I decided that I would go get the HCA bus and pick up the kids so that they wouldn't have to face their insect enemies on the way back to school by foot.  With the parking lot full because of the number of excited first day of school parents, I couldn't get the bus out of its spot, so I hopped in the van instead, thinking I could just make multiple trips.  As I pulled up to the front door, I could see the scared little faces on the inside begin to lighten up with the belief that Mr. Robinson had saved them from the danger.  That's part of the beauty of little kids.  They truly do believe that I have the power to do anything! 

I went into the building, and got the first group of wounded, taking them out to the van.  As I opened the van door, wouldn't you know it...two wasps flew out!  The kids went into a screaming frenzy, and ran back into the building.  Back to square one.  By this point, my dad nature begins to say, "Look, I know that you have had a tough time, but you are just going to have to suck it up and go outside!"  Fortunately, Mrs. Peeler had arrived and became the soothing voice of sympathy and encouragement.  She reassured the kids that Mr. Robinson had not intentionally brought more bees to torment them, and convinced them that the van ride was their best option.  They reluctantly agreed and we finally made it back to school.  Whew!

When I think back to first days of school in the 20 years since I started teaching, or even when I was a student myself, this one is certainly the most memorable.  Every situation is a learning experience, and I certainly learned a lot of lessons that day, not the least of which is to check for yellow jacket nests in key places before school starts! 

Today, we began our 17th year at Hickory Christian Academy.  We welcomed over 390 students (including over 60 new ones) to our campus, and were immediately impacted by the increased numbers.  Almost every classroom is full to capacity, even with two across the parking lot.  And, as I looked into they eyes of each of these gifts from God, I was reminded of how important this task really is.  These are real human beings, with a real future (on earth, and eternally).  They have real emotions, real anxieties, real hopes, real dreams.  And the Creator of the universe has allowed me to have a hand in molding these youngsters into the image of Jesus Christ.

What an honor and privilege it is to work alongside such wonderful teachers and administrators in ministering to wonderful families with wonderful children under the supervision of a wonderful God.  Thank you for entrusting us with your kids again this year.  I can't wait to get to know every one of you a little better each day. 

Today was a much smoother first day of school than last year.  I did not see one bee all day.  They probably were hiding in their nests after the earthquake!  Summer is over...let the adventure begin!