Grace Christian School

Archives - September 2017

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3/12/19 - By Brian Fitzgerald, High School Principal
3/6/19 - By Brian Fitzgerald, High School Principal
2/27/19 - By Kristen Lihos, Interim Advancement Director
2/19/19 - By Donald M. Larson, PhD
11/5/18 - By Donald M. Larson, PhD
10/9/18 - By Donald M. Larson, PhD
8/24/18 - By Donald M. Larson, PhD
6/28/18 - By John Morrison
6/26/18 - By John Morrison
6/20/18 - By John Morrison

Headmaster's Blog

Archives - September 2017

Parenting and Spiritual Transmission - Part 3

September 28, 2017
By John Morrison

In my last two blogs, I have focused upon the essential role of parents in the spiritual mentoring of their children.  Indeed, more than even the church and school, parents have the greatest influence in the formation of their children's core faith values. Without such mentoring and role modeling, our children will be without any compass to help guide them through a culture increasingly hostile to our faith.

Unlike my own youth, where the consensus of our larger society generally reinforced and reflected our Judeo/Christian values, contemporary culture is militantly, aggressively tearing away at the fabric of our traditional Christian worldview.

In this context, as I have repeatedly emphasized,  it is essential that we stand together in supporting one another in training our children and youth in our fundamental faith values. Part of this dynamic is encouraging and equipping one another effectively to mentor the next generation.  This is why we emphasize this concept of covenant community among like-minded parents, grandparents, Christian educators, and local churches.

On October 17, we will host what we consider a strategic parents' meeting where we will introduce a book written by John Stonestreet and Brett Kunkle entitled A Practical Guide to Culture.  The subtitle is Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today's World. In my view,  this is one of the most effective resources available for equipping Christian parents in mentoring and preparing their children to walk as well-grounded believers through our increasingly hostile culture.

The book addresses a variety of strategic issues, including the nature of culture and some of the prominent trends of our rapidly changing society.  More specifically, the authors address hot topic issues that are impacting our young people,  including pornography,  the hook-up culture, sexual orientation and gender identity, addictions, entertainment, racial tension, and consumerism.

Our high school principal, Brian Fitzgerald, will  share an overview of the fundamental thesis of this book, and then we will have break-out sessions with various presenters addressing some of the above issues.

Even though some of these topics seem  geared to older children and youth, we believe it important that parents of younger children attend this meeting, as well.  Sadly, many of the negative influences of our larger culture are quite pervasive, and even our younger children are exposed to far more than most of us can imagine.

We hope each of our GCS families will put October 17 on your calendar with plans to attend this important meeting beginning at 6:45 PM at the high school campus.  And if you have friends whom you feel would benefit from attending, feel free to  invite them. Guests are  most welcome

May God help us as parents, the local church, and the school to optimally impact our little ones and youth for Christ!

PS. Check out this link for a three minute video overview of A Practical Guide to Culture.

If you would like to respond to this blog, please email John Morrison at grace@gcswarriors.org.

Parenting and Spiritual Transmission - Part 2

September 20, 2017
By John Morrison

In last week’s blog, I focused on the fundamental theme that parents must be the primary spiritual mentors for their children, even if their kids are in a solid youth group and Christian school.  At the risk of stepping on some toes, I want to continue this theme by sharing the words of a youth pastor who relates his observations about the vital need for dads to be the leaders in this spiritual mentoring process.  I will make some qualifying comments at the end of the blog to hopefully encourage our single parent moms who are facing the challenge of raising their children without a father figure in the home.  But, dads, please  take special note of this youth pastor’s observations.

If living out the faith is not important to you, your kids will notice this, and learn from it.  I am a youth group leader in an evangelical church in a Southern state and I can absolutely attest to this.

In my youth group, there are roughly three different types of teens: those who have both parents active and involved in the church; those who have one parent (always the mom) involved with one parent indifferent/apathetic (always the dad); and those who come on their own and have no parents involved.

The first and third groups are some of the finest young people I have ever met. They are committed to living out Christian principles, they love the Lord with all of their heart and they engage in outreach — several of those students have started bible study clubs in their schools. They give me a sliver of hope for revival in this generation. The first group sees their parents living out an authentic faith and emulates it. The third group has grown up in broken homes with broken lives (their stories will absolutely crush you) and they cling to the life raft that authentic faith provides.

The second group — where one parent is going through the motions — are the most indifferent teens I have ever seen. There is nothing I can do to engage them on a spiritual level. They’ll play games with our group and eat our food, but they mentally check out as soon as any teaching begins. Dad is telling them to “live as I say, not as I do” and it is working about as well as you would expect. For this group, church is something to be endured, a box to be checked and it has no impact on their lives or their thinking.

… every time a parent sends their kid to me just to relieve their guilt about not actually going to church themselves, I sigh and mentally groan. They’re just asking me to do a job they won’t do themselves and it never works out. Never.

You may access the entire blog from which the above is taken by clicking here.

While I suspect there may be some over-generalizations in this youth pastor’s comments,  I think he really nails the point that we as parents (and especially dads)  must be the primary spiritual mentors for our children by “walking the walk” as role models  and also proactively cultivating relationships with our children in spite of all the busy demands of our schedules.  Nothing can be more important for us in the context of our parenting.

Single moms may feel  a bit left out by what is said above.  But I appreciate a number of local examples of single mom families where, in their local  faith community,  these moms have proactively identified men who can spend time with their children as “significant others” in providing some of the male influence that can  make such a difference in their lives. In a healthy local church community, single moms should not have to face parenting alone, but should have the support of others willing to come alongside to help.  

Regardless of our individual circumstances, let us recognize the larger truth of what this youth pastor has observed, and let us cry out to God to help us as parents provide the spiritual mentoring in a relational context that is so essential for our children!

If you would like to respond to this blog, please email John Morrison at grace@gcswarriors.org.

 

Parenting and Spiritual Transmission

September 14, 2017
By John Morrison

While in some of my blogs I like to celebrate the  accomplishments of our students and staff, I find most of my topics tend to gravitate toward weighty issues related to the challenges with which we are faced as parents and educators.

I was quite struck recently when reading the introduction to the C.S. Lewis Institute’s Aslan Academy Parent's’ Guidebook designed to help dad and mom disciple their children.  The words are so profound that I want simply to quote portions of the introduction as follows.  These may be deeply challenging words for many of us.  But, please, please, take the time to read this, and let’s all be open to making changes in our busy lifestyles as appropriate.  So much is at stake.

Why do young people walk away from their faith when they leave home?  Key reasons include their lack of strong faith as a child and their parents not having lived a vibrant faith.

Parents tend to focus, almost by default, on raising kids who will exhibit good behavior, succeed in school and eventually, in  employment, and become decent citizens …. While these are important outcomes, they are not the most important.  What do I desire most for my children?  For them to  grow in the knowledge and love of their Savior Jesus Christ and articulate, defend, and joyfully live out their faith in whatever calling God has for them.  Helping disciple our children on this journey should be a parent’s urgent priority. …

Proverbs 22:6 notes that we parents are to train our children in the way they should go, and when they are old they will not turn from it.  The Bible is clear that parents are chiefly responsible for helping their children become effective disciples.  The church can help. Youth groups can help.  Godly friends can  help.  But parents are on the front line, and they need help.

Parents deal with so many seemingly urgent and important things--managing their jobs, helping kids with school, taking them to sports, music, or play practices, church activities, hobbies, vacations … At times,  just surviving the daily grind can seem like an impossible goal.

But if we fail to intentionally prepare the hearts of our children to fall in love with the Creator of the universe and find joy in following Him, our work as parents will fall  dreadfully short of God’s plan for us to lead our children.  Likewise, as a church, if we neglect the work of equipping parents to disciple their children, we have forfeited a foundational responsibility.  

Recent studies from a variety of reputable sources have confirmed that parents, in general,  are not properly preparing  children to have a solid faith … The culture of a typical middle school, high school,  or university seems almost designed to pull children away from their faith.  With the plethora of information on the web and through influential messages on TV,  movies, music, and other entertainment options,  it is more important now than  ever for parents to  help children fully understand and defend their beliefs.  The world is intentional about worldliness.  Parents  need to be intentional about discipling their children.  

The introduction continues … but you get the point: no one,  including the local church or the Christian school, can replace the parents as the primary spiritual and faith mentors of their children.  This is a huge responsibility, and if arrested by the above words (I certainly am!),  the reader may need to seriously consider a reordering of priorities. Again, so much is at stake.

I pray that we here at Grace Christian can effectively come alongside Christian parents in supporting what they are doing in the home.  But we can never come close to picking  up the slack if parents themselves are not proactive in this aspect of their children’s spiritual formation.  My next several blogs will touch on this same topic,  with mention of some valuable parenting resources.

In  closing, I can’t overemphasize how impressed I am with this Aslan Academy Parent’s Guidebook from which I have quoted above.  Yes,  their program represents perhaps a radical commitment of time; but I cannot imagine a family who engages in this program ever regretting the time investment and the relationships that flow out of it!  You can find this resource at www.cslewisinstitute.org.  

If you would like to respond to this blog, please email John Morrison at grace@gcswarriors.org.

Thirteen Years of Normal

September 04, 2017
By John Morrison


Many of us as staff and parents were deeply moved by GCS graduate Kristen’s testimony in our recent staff and parent meetings concerning how Grace Christian School has impacted her life and that of her family over the years. (We are not using her last name in this piece in order to safeguard her “digital” privacy.)

As a “lifer” (someone who matriculated at GCS from kindergarten through her senior year), Kristen described how the day to day consistency of attending a school  where she was loved in a personal manner by her teachers,  held to a solid academic standard grounded in the Christian worldview, and otherwise made to feel a vital part of the school “family,” became her “normal” -- something she assumed as a child was typical of the larger culture.  But after graduation, she quickly discovered that the secular world was quite different in terms of what is “normal,” and she developed a deeper appreciation for the special environment she had enjoyed for thirteen years as a student at GCS.  Kristen’s presentation was a powerful illustration for how many of our children come to fully appreciate the heritage they have received through a Christian education only after the fact!  

Kristen also testified how, as a parent of six children enrolled at Grace, she is even more appreciative for the sense of covenant community that she enjoys with fellow parents and staff (she is now working in our advancement office) and how vital such a supportive, like-minded community has  become to  her family.  She wants her own children to also experience the “normal” of everyday life at Grace as she experienced it in preparation  for life after school.

Indeed, I had prepared notes for these same back-to-school meetings emphasizing the vital need for “covenant community,”  especially in the context of a larger culture gone “mad” in terms of turning its back on Christianity.  But I happily set aside my prepared presentation because Kristen’s testimony was a far better representation of the vital need we have in  covenanting together in this daunting task of training up our children in a culture increasingly at odds with our faith!

May God give us all a growing vision and  sense of urgency for this concept of “covenant community” as a vital  dynamic in providing a distinctly Christian education for our children and youth.  As such an environment was Kristen’s “normal” for  the thirteen years she was here as a student, may the same be the common experience for all of our families!  May God help us more effectively covenant together to this end in this 2017/18 school year!

Thank you, Kristen, for challenging us so effectively!

If you would like to respond to this blog, please email John Morrison at grace@gcswarriors.org.

 

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