Vol. 2 Issue 31 | August 5, 2016
Three Things This Week
1. Don’t Blame It on Rio
What it is: The IOC confirmed it is providing 450,000 condoms for athletes in the Olympic Village, equating to 42 per athlete or two per day.
Why it’s important: The Olympics has a history of promiscuity between athletes, and thanks to social media, this year’s games has its own Olympic Tinder hook-up app. Hope Solo says the Olympics are for building memories, “whether it’s sexual, partying, or on the field.” In the Olympics and in life, we follow our passions. But as C.S. Lewis reminds us, “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered to us…We are far too easily pleased.” So, as a parent or teacher, how do you change your student’s heart, and how do you properly form their desires? Like Olympic athletes, through practice and training. If we are what we love, then our ultimate desires are formed by daily practices. Foster your student’s passions through the faithful practices of worship, prayer, Scripture reading, and service. Change their hearts, and their actions will follow. Because, ultimately, what we repeatedly do shapes who we are.
2. Get-Real Parents vs Good Parents
What it is: A recent article in the Atlantic details how helicopter parenting leads to binge drinking.
Why it’s important: We really want you to read this article! It’s deep, it’s raw (warning: profanity), but it gets to the heart of how difficult it is to raise children in a world that’s pushing them toward success at all costs. And, after reading it, tell us what you think!
3. Miss Teen USA
What it is: Shortly after Karlie Hay was crowned Miss Teen USA 2016 on Saturday, she came under fire for a series of racial slurs found in her Twitter account, dating back over three years ago.
Why it’s important: Teens are especially sensitive to and stressed out by their social world, especially when they feel like they are being watched. And, when among their peers, they tend to make riskier decisions. So when you combine these traits with the visibility and permanence of social media, mistakes like Karlie Hay’s can be common. Teach your teens emotional intelligence, like taking a “meta-moment” (a pause between being triggered and responding in anger) to delay decision making in order to avoid an online meltdown. Here are three simple ways to help your students avoid making big mistakes on social media.
The Great Sacred/Secular Divide
Every year around this time, our teams hit the road and begin speaking to over 25,000 students across North America. And each year, they report an observation: There is a dichotomy between the sacred and the secular at many Christian schools. This compartmentalized view of life and education says all things spiritual are sacred, and everything else is secular. We see this mentality everywhere: in work (“ministry” is sacred, accounting and pharmacy are secular), in education (Bible classes and chapel are sacred, history and English are secular), and in art (Kirk Cameron movies are sacred, Spielberg movies are secular). When we view the world this way, it reduces Christianity to a tiny slice of life that happens only on Sunday or in Bible study, while most of human existence plays out in the ordinariness of everyday living. And in so doing, our students begin to think of Christianity in terms of events (chapel) or places (church), instead of having a holistic view that all of life is under God’s authority. The early Church faced this same kind of thinking (Gnosticism) and deemed it heretical. So how do we reclaim a broader view of life, education, work, and entertainment that recognizes God’s presence everywhere?
For starters, God, in His merciful goodness, created a good world where the eternal and the spiritual play themselves out in the physical. Everything has the potential to be sacred since God has the uncanny ability to show up in the ordinary–a feeding trough, bread and wine, or a stormy sea. Walter Brueggemann calls this “the scandal of the particular”; it’s an incarnational view of the world that recognizes that matter really matters to God, that concrete, everyday things are a doorway to the divine. Once we realize that God is with us in the ordinary things of life (homework, mowing the lawn, or reading a book), everything becomes an occasion for worship and revelation.
This is especially true for education. Charlotte Mason said, “God, the Holy Spirit, is Himself the supreme educator of mankind.” All truth is God’s truth, and all beauty is God’s beauty. Therefore we shouldn’t classify certain aspects or areas of education “Christian,” because that would imply the possibility that other aspects of education are secular. As Christians, we understand that all education is divine, that every good gift of knowledge and insight comes from above, and that ultimately the culmination of all education is the personal knowledge of and intimacy with God. And that knowledge, or revelation, can come just as much from Shakespeare as St. Paul.
Our task as parents and educators is to be in divine cooperation with the Holy Spirit in the discipling and teaching of our students by helping them “lift the veil” of revelation to uncover the good, the beautiful, and the true in all things, reminding them that we really do inhabit a sacred universe. And revelation need not only come from distinctly Christian sources. Truth and beauty are revealed in the novels of Thomas Hardy, the poems of Robert Frost, and the scientific discoveries of Albert Einstein.
Ask yourself and your students:
1. Do you have a favorite movie or song that isn’t necessarily “Christian” that still reveals truth? How?
2. How does having a Christian worldview impact how you view/study history, science, sociology or psychology?