Thursday, September 7, 2017

Finding Beauty in Education

As 21st Century Americans, we are inundated with information and opinions from all angles, virtually all day, every day.  The amount of people who fill our airwaves on television, internet, and social media is too high to count, but make no mistake, they have a tremendous impact on each one of us.  Visible folks on the news, in athletics, entertainers, and politicians all want us to know their take on life, and to convince us that we should agree with them, sometimes accompanied by threats of what will happen if we don't.

An example of this is the change in culture from my childhood to today.  When I was a kid, growing up in Virginia and North Carolina, we enjoyed small town culture.  We rode bikes, played baseball, went to church, talked with our neighbors, and generally felt secure in our simple existence.  We were taught that truth and integrity were more valuable than money and fame.  We knew that places like Los Angeles and New York had differing cultures, and that many of our values were foreign to them (and vice versa), but the prevailing sentiment was that they were free to live over there and do as they please, and we would stay here and do the same.  Everyone seemed OK with that arrangement at the time.  How times have changed.

With the onset of the internet in the 1990's, the world rapidly got smaller.  It is no longer acceptable for people to live in various places with differing beliefs and values in our country.  If you are an American, then you should automatically buy into the prevailing culture, as depicted through electronic communication.  Whatever the pundits on FoxNews and CNN say, should now be what we all believe.  However Justin Timberlake and Taylor Swift view the world should dictate our own viewpoints a well.  If Tom Brady or LeBron James say something is important, then if must be important.  College professors and politicians have control of the mindset of the future.  In other words, we have become a bunch of "yes men" who don't need brains of our own as long as we have famous people to do all our thinking for us.

In many ways, this is the prime reason for the existence of Hickory Christian Academy.  As a Classical Christian School, our core value is that we would produce thinkers, not just memorizers.  It is far too easy (and dangerous) for a teacher to simply be handed a textbook to complete, and administer a government test at the end.  Even if our kids score perfect scores on those tests, and even if it impresses a college, what have we really gained?  All that is proven at that point is that our kids have memorized the educational agenda deemed most important by the politicians we wish were out of office.  But, we have been so convinced by the establishment that this is quality education that we just blindly follow the crowd, without asking questions.  

This year's theme at HCA is "Beauty".  Our reference comes from Psalm 27:4, which states "One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek; That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to mediate in His temple."

A few years ago, I wrote an article for a local magazine about our school.  I hope that its words reaffirm your desire that your children become thinkers and culture-changers, not just test takers and degree earners.  The latter are a dime a dozen these days.  We need more of the former, if our core values are to survive the modern storm.

Beauty in Education

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. – Colossians 2:8

The human brain is an intricately delicate flower.  When neglected or poisoned, it wilts away and dies.  But when properly cared for, nourished, and cultivated, it produces a product so beautiful, that nothing can compare with its radiance. 

As we work with children of all shapes, sizes, colors, and backgrounds, we see a common theme:  A child’s mind was meant for much more than memorizing facts to spout out on standardized testing.  It was created to be molded and challenged; to be developed and unfolded; to be watered, fertilized, grown, and harvested. 

At Hickory Christian Academy, we seek to develop the entire person, and to create learners who hunger to continue to grow in knowledge far beyond Friday’s test.  We seek to promote an intellectual curiosity that will increase the quality of a long life, not just gain them acceptance into college.  Most of all, we seek to understand that Christ is the center of all knowledge and truth.  It was He who said, “apart from Me, you can do nothing.” (John 15:5b), to which Paul added, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13).  If the Bible is true, and we really can do all things through Christ, but nothing apart from Him, why would we separate Jesus from the education of our children?   He is the key to their success. 

HCA strives to educate children through the time-honored methodology of Classical Christian education.  We integrate instruction in Latin, Logic, and Rhetoric to stimulate the mind of young learners, and to enhance their understanding of their own English language, as well as literature, math, science, and history.  The methodology of a classical education changes with the natural changing of the human brain, from a “soaking in” of information when young, to a topical debate format when adolescents, to a self-expression environment as young adults.  Education is much more complex than answering A,B,C,D on a bubble sheet.  It is truly the formation of thought processes that will grow a student into a successful adult who makes a difference, and who strives to continue to deepen their knowledge of things that really matter in life. 

We invite you to explore the Christian community of Hickory Christian Academy.  It is a community where families seek to partner with one another to protect and enhance the spiritual walk of our children, challenging them to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, strength and MIND.  If it truly does take a village to raise a child, this is where it happens.  

I have loved what I have seen at school so far in the first few weeks.  HCA is more than the place where you drop off your kid at school.  It is a community and culture in itself, where kids and families are challenged to address and engage the culture around us, to hold fast to what is right, and to see the Beauty of the Lord in every aspect of our education.  We are so honored to serve each of you this year, and to expose a beautiful light in the darkness for our children to follow.  

1 comment:

  1. Tracy, you're a great ambassador for our school. Thanks for all you do!