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.
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.
Whether as a component of a feast day or in preparation for the Winter Ball, training in formal dancing is an important facet of a Trinitas education. This is because “Education is not merely an intellectual affair, no matter how intellect-centered it must be, because human beings are not merely minds. As creatures made in God’s image, we are composite beings—unions of soul and body.” Thus Trinitas students are taught reading, writing, and dancing so that they can glorify God with their minds and also with their bodies by becoming socially graceful.
As a father of five, I am greatly concerned with the cultivation of virtue in the hearts of my children. Frequent thought and active parenting has been invested in training my children in honesty, diligence, self-control, and respect. The lack of these virtues is tough to disguise. When children are disrespectful and lazy, succumbing to every desire of their flesh, they create what my mother would refer to as “a scene.” Yet behind the more common virtues, lies one that receives precious little airtime – Piety.
One hundred twenty-seven years ago, the United States Congress officially recognized the social and economic impact of American workers by, ironically, giving them a day off. Since that time, the first Monday in September has been a federal holiday often celebrated with parades, fireworks, and backyard barbecues. Acting as the unofficial end of summer, Labor Day might also represent the end of lazy summer living and the start of the demands of a new school year. Yet for the thoughtful Christian, even a secular holiday such as Labor Day should be cause for contemplation.
The Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS) is the only accrediting body in the country that caters exclusively to classical Christian schools like Trinitas. Although the organization has over three hundred member schools, only a small fraction of those schools have met the rigorous standards required to become accredited. Trinitas has been associated with the ACCS since the school's founding over twenty years ago and has been an accredited member for over half that time.
Of course, a school doesn't have to be accredited to be a good school - there are many smaller classical Christian schools that offer an excellent education - but accreditation with the ACCS does assure parents that the school is committed to the highest standards of excellence in its pursuit of classical and Christ-centered education.