From your North Dialectic and Grammar Principals, Lindsay Berryhill, and Jake Schulte
I have a confession to make. Ready yourself.
Deep breath…it’s time to get this off my chest. Sometimes we quote from books that I have not actually read. Wow that feels good to finally say.
Shoot, sometimes we will even name-drop book titles that I have no intention of reading. I know, I know…deplorable. But there it is, my character fault, laid plainly before you. But why? That’s an odd way to begin a letter, Schulte. Hang tight, do me one favor.
Picture in your mind a long, winding valley. Ok, still weird, but getting better.
This valley is situated between sheer mountains that catapult into the skyline, some disappearing into the mist, shrouding their peaks in mystery. A river flows through this valley, itself invigorated by smaller waterfalls, cascading down to join the energetic flow. Winding ever onward through the valley, this small river finds a resting place, forming a lake…dark, crystalline, and magnificent. It’s at that moment that we finally see her, El Capitan, the 3000-foot granite monolith that presides over this valley.
She calls out to you. She beckons you to try your hand, test your strength. She promises an existential reward unlike anything you have ever experienced, but first, you must climb. There are no roads that lead to her summit, only her barren face that must be navigated with skill, strength, and determination.
Let’s connect this image now to our topic at hand, education.
What makes my opening confession so disturbing, is that it reveals the weakness of my desires. I sometimes make the mistake of wanting the rewards of learning without paying the price of effort, skill, and time. I have mistakenly believed that mere proximity to great works of literature and art might somehow elevate my insight and appreciation of the world, and while this might be true to a very small degree, something more incarnational is required.
Some of us see the monument of learning and we desire to climb to the top and drink from the stream that promises insight and delight. Let’s call this a large Russian novel, a precise Shakespearean Sonnet, or a dizzying Algebraic equation. The chorus of past humanity, that great democracy of the dead, has convinced us that these masterpieces are worthy of tackling, that our sweat equity will yield a great reward. And while it can be fun to go and stand at the base of El Capitan and gaze upon its beauty, or marvel at the skill of the climbers who painstakingly make their way along her face, the true depths of insight are found at the top, through ourselves laying hand to the rock and beginning the climb. This will not be an easy endeavor; it will take years of training. Aching, bloody fingers must find new strength and develop greater sensitivity to perceive the virtues of the rock, to seek out handholds previously unseen, and unimagined. Therein, is perhaps the great magic of incarnational learning. When we enter the process, when we press our being close to that which we hope to conquer or attain, we realize that what we initially sought was not so important after all, it was merely a form pointing us toward something greater, nobler, and more fulfilling. Yes, we gain a greater appreciation for the discipline that we are studying, but more importantly, we gain a greater capacity to love and value hard things and so become more open to future learning. It is then but a small step to see how this increased capacity for love also compels us to enter more patiently into the lives of those around us, which is where the true reward is found.
North Substitutes Needed – Parents, I need to build a team of substitutes. I invite you to join that team or refer trusted friends and family members. Teachers are great about providing sub plans that enable students to work independently. We don’t expect substitutes to teach course work. If you are interested, or know folks who might be, please contact Jake (firstname.lastname@example.org ) or Lindsay (Lberryhill@theacademyok.org). We would love to have you spend the day with us here at North!
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