Is there anything a 19th century Anglican Bishop can teach modern Christian parents about training their children? In short, absolutely! As Trinitas parents gather this week for the first Parent Traditio of the new year, they will be discussing a short essay written by J. C. Ryle entitled The Duties of Parents. In it, Bishop Ryle shares seventeen specific directives for Christian parenting that are gospel-centered and rooted in common sense while also practical and encouraging.
Yesterday, the Trinitas Board of Governors spent the entire day engaged in a continuous improvement discussion which resulted in an update to the school’s five-year strategic plan. Revisiting this process and document regularly helps the board ensure that the school is not only staying faithful to its founding mission and vision but is also thriving while improving in the execution of the same.
As valuable as that process is for organizations, it is equally important for parents to honestly assess where their family is in relation to the high calling placed upon Christian parents and to thoughtfully craft their own “strategic plan.”
The start of a new year is often a time for making resolutions. Perhaps, like me, you are contemplating the best way to lose the extra ten pounds that inexplicably appeared in the mirror the last few weeks. Maybe you find yourself strategizing how to make better use of your time in the coming 365 days (e.g. wake up earlier, watch less tv, buy a planner?). Although there is nothing wrong with these typical self-improvement pursuits, perhaps we’d all do well to consider making resolutions like a modern-day puritan.
In spite of Christmas displays in the stores in October and continuous Christmas music on the radio since the day after Thanksgiving, it isn’t Christmastime yet. According to the historical calendar of the Christian Church, we are currently in the season of Advent. Taken from the Latin, adventus, meaning coming or arrival, Advent is the season leading up to Christmas that is symbolic of the world’s longing and waiting for the promised Messiah of God who would take away the sins of the world. Though it is often unobserved in Evangelical circles today, I want to offer just three reasons why we should consider observing Advent with our children.
We should read broadly. People love diversity, and that's good--so I suggest getting books from a wide diversity of authors. Often when people say, “I read diverse authors,” they meet sometimes mean “I read multi-colored authors.” That's not what I mean. I mean that you should read ideologically diverse authors. For example, take Voddie Baucham. He requires his children to read Mein Kampf, Origin of Species, Malcolm X, Langston Hughes, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, and Greek mythology. He's not afraid to do that. He himself spends nearly as much time reading books with which he disagrees as those which affirm his positions, and he is able to identify with and profit from both.
The topic of discussion for Parent Traditio this evening will be “Raising Readers: Cultivating a Love of Literature in the Home.” One facet of this conversation will be the importance of good literature in the forming of a child’s moral imagination. To illustrate this point, consider the scene from C.S. Lewis’s The Silver Chair (from the Chronicles of Narnia), where one of my favorite Narnian characters – a marshwiggle – bolding declares his commitment to the truth.
Trinitas has a long and tasty history with barbecue. You might even say it's an integral part of a Trinitas education! Back in the early days of the school, our founding headmaster, Ken Trotter’s father, Grandpa Trotter used his meat-smoking prowess to bring school families together for picnics and community-building events. Even Grandma Trotter pitched in with her famously delicious, but always secret sauce. Though the Trotter family has all passed on from our school, the tradition of sharing good barbecue with friends and family still remains - particularly in connection to the annual Trinitas Junior/Senior Aesthetics trip.
It's easy to assume that because classical Christian schools like Trinitas are not publicly-funded, government schools, they must be substantially the same as other private Christian schools of which there are many in our area. This understanding, however, is fundamentally flawed. Since its inception in 1999, Trinitas has maintained a commitment to a classical approach to Christian education which has resulted in the school being accredited by the Association of Classical Christian Schools (ACCS). To aid in understanding the differences between traditional Christian schools and classical Christ-centered schools like Trinitas, consider the following indicators of a classical approach to education.