I hope your Thanksgiving week was a blessed time with family and truly a time of giving thanks to God for His goodness and kindness to you. As we come off Thanksgiving Break and head into Christmas, I am very grateful for our families. I was reminded about the quality and influence of our parents at the November 17 open house (which, by the way, went extremely well). Several visiting parents commented that they knew so and so, parents at Veritas, and stated very explicitly that the reason they were visiting was because of what they saw in our parents and families. “If she sends her children to Veritas, then Veritas must be an excellent school.” And, “The ‘fill in the blank’ family is involved here, so we thought we ought to check it out. They have amazing children.” No marketing can match the power of parents’ lives and testimony in the community.
Two quick anecdotes related to parents for you –one a bit humorous and one encouraging. First, recently the third-grade teacher wrote on a student’s communication sheet, “excellent participation today,” and dad wrote back, “She takes after me.” The next day it was noted on the sheet that the girl received a check for talking out (she like to chat in class) and the father responded, “she takes after her mother.” Chuckles aside, apples do fall in the shade. Veritas has outstanding students because God grace is evident in their homes.
The second anecdote is personal –from my own home. I offer this as an encouragement to you, especially if your children are still very young, to be faithful and stay the course –and do not ever think the things you say and do in your home don’t influence your children. My son, Samuel, a Veritas senior, recently wrote a couple of 2-3 page essays in response to typical, open-ended scholarship application questions. Eventually, your child must write these essays too. His questions were something like, “Describe the influences in your life that made you who you are today.” and “Describe a problem in our society and explain what you would do to fix it.” He asked me to proofread his essays before he sent them in. I read them and had one of those tearful, fist-pumping, overwhelmed with gratitude, moments as a father, saying, “Yes! Thank you, God! All those dinner time conversations for the past seventeen years paid off. My son was listening and believes what he’s heard about faith, worship, God’s Word, family, church, education, responsibility as a young man, and reading books.” It hit me like a glorious punch in the nose. I went to Donna, waving the essay pages, and said, “All those years, he was listening and he gets it.” God, by His grace, works in our homes and shapes our children though our homes. God even uses flawed, fumbling, and frail fathers like me. Psalm 78:5-7 in true! Stay the course. Be faithful. When you sin and mess up –repent, confess, move on, and trust God for the next day. Continue plodding ahead in faithfulness, day after day. Take the long view. God will bring the good fruit in due season.
Please pray and consider giving to the Annual Fund, the James 1:27 Fund, and to the Apogee Scholarship Fund. The deadline for completing the Apogee approval application is coming up very soon–December 15. Please do not delay!
In keeping with the theme of families, let me direct you to a couple of excellent web articles. Today, Tim Challies has posted an insightful article about why children must obey their parents. He begins by asking, Should parents insist upon their children’s obedience? The culture around us seems perplexed, so focused on personal autonomy that in many families it seems clear that the children rule the roost. Many parents doubt their ability to direct their children and may even doubt their right to demand obedience. Yet the Bible insists that children are to obey their parents and that parents are to enforce their children’s obedience. Tedd Tripp, in Shepherding a Child’s Heart, makes the case that you will never be able to train your child when he is eight or twelve years old unless you first bring them under your authority and teach them to obey when they are four or five. Tripp is wise and biblical!
Finally, speaking of family and parenting, the article, You Should Thank God That Your Kids are Mediocre Athletes at TheFederalist.com encourages parents to Thank God that your kids haven’t displayed the athletic prowess necessary to trick you into spending a fortune you don’t have for a dream that will almost certainly never materialize. When you take the long view of your children’s life and future, it is best to invest most of your energy and prayer in raising them to be mature, virtuous, faithful, independent, and well-educated adults. Athletics provide tremendous growth opportunities for children and can certainly develop maturity and leadership skills, but a parent would do just as well to buy lottery tickets, as to build a ten-year old’s entire life around the prospect of getting an NCAA athletic scholarship. Bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord!
Have a blessed week,
Scott B. Taylor, Headmaster