“People and nations are forged in the fires of adversity.” John Adams
While preparing to write my article this week I had many things going through my head. First, our house has been full of all things John Adams as my oldest son, Graeme, prepared for his 4th Grade Living History Project. Maybe it is just me but it seems that learning about Adams is way cooler now, because I get to see him not only through the lens of history and literature but also through the eyes of my child. I never thought twice about John Adams when I had to learn objective facts about him for high school history class. Secondarily, I listened to our school’s seniors present their capstone works. (Which if you haven’t given a listen to yet, you should take the time to. You can find them here – https://youtu.be/i-MRVudrksw) As I listened to the senior’s projects, I found myself hearing John Adams’ words and thoughts coming through the work of five teenagers in 2021. From the role of passivity to the need to listen to secular music, the words of John Adams rang through my head.
As former South Campus student and current Academy senior, Meredith Thomas, presented her paper “It’s Not My Voice That Needs To Be Heard: How Community, Suffering, and Listening Can Flourish into Racial Reconciliation,” she presented about the impact J-Term had on her life and her paper. Specifically, Meredith spoke on how the J-Term tour guide through Savannah, GA helped her to realize that she could listen and learn from the stories of our country and learn from them. She goes on to quote her mother when she says, “Everybody has a story that can break your heart.” Meredith posits that we, too, can learn how to suffer alongside those around her by listening to the stories of those who are around us.
Now, let’s mash the two together. If it is both true that people and nations are forged in the fires of adversity and that we should create avenues for listening to the stories of other for our good and theirs, then we should seek to form the heart and affections of students by putting stories in front of them. We should tell stories of triumph, defeat, purposefully passive princesses, bold princes, and of a God who never stops loving us even when we are far from him. Meredith seems to have a great handle on being a lifelong learner but also on why we do what we do at The Academy. Our mission states that, “The Academy assists parents in shaping students’ affections for Truth, Goodness, and Beauty, for the benefit of man and the glory of Jesus Christ.” And I must say I agree with Meredith. I think we accomplish our mission best when we “create communities in which stories can be told and most importantly we must be willing to listen.” Grab a book, grab a neighbor, and drink deeply the stories they have to tell.
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