Nearly two decades ago a handful of Christian parents decided they wanted a better education for their children than what was available to them. Trinitas Christian School was born out of the initiative they took to solve that problem. All these years later, parents are still making Trinitas what it is. As we leave behind a very busy October, filled with events led and staffed by volunteering parents, and head into a month that will burst at the seams with the theme of thanksgiving, it might be good to pause here and thank parents lest our thanks come across as some mid-November bandwagon theme.
With very few exceptions parents of students in classical Christian schools are not classically educated. Many of us, probably most of us, attended and then graduated from government schools. By God’s grace, though, we have found a better path for our children.
One of the best things about classical education is the idea that parents can be educated alongside their children.
Last week I introduced the term father famine to this blog. The term I have only recently heard from my pastor; the idea the term denotes I have observed for years. The term fitly describes the absence of fathers and fathering in our culture. We have developed cultural amnesia, and one of the things we’ve forgotten, which is key to any culture, is fathering. By “we” I mean western culture generally, but to be more specific, I mean Christians seem to have forgotten the importance of fathering and, therefore, how to father. There is a dark irony in this Christian forgetfulness. The obvious irony is that fathering ought to be on our minds all the time because we speak of and look to God as our Heavenly Father; the subtler irony is that remembering is a predominant theme throughout Scripture.
On Father’s Day my pastor used the term “father famine” to describe the lack of fathers and fathering in our culture right now. Even though the truths bound up in this term are familiar to me as a watcher of culture, the term slapped me in the face—it was that shocking. Our culture is truly in the midst of a father famine. And it is not simply that we lack headship in families. No, the problem is much deeper: we don’t even understand what good headship is. We—all of us, the whole culture—have little vision for fathers or fathering.
In Ecclesiastes 4:12 the “preacher” says, “Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Christian parents should apply this concept to the education of their children. When the parents, the church, and the school are all preaching the same message, the result is true education for Christian children—the kind of education that forms virtue and points children in the way they should go (Prov. 22:6). Borrowing a term from the Romans, we can call this “threefold cord” of parents, church, and school an education triumvirate.
We Americans are pretty independent people. In fact, independence is often considered a hallmark of Americanness, a particular American virtue if you will. For the next few minutes, however, please allow me to celebrate the antithesis to personal independence, that is, the virtue of community. I have been inspired recently to extol the virtues of community by the many parents and students at Trinitas who work behind the scenes to support each other and the school.