Spiritual and Character Development
“Why do you integrate Christianity into your classical educational model?” It’s a fair question: one that gets to our careful distinction that Geneva is a Christian classical school, not merely a classical school. We believe that the triadic virtues of classicism (goodness, truth, and beauty) must be fully grounded in the Christian virtues (faith, hope, love, mercy, humility, forgiveness, etc.); otherwise we may find ourselves equipping young people to be “more clever devils” (some credit C.S. Lewis with this phrase, but it cannot be found—Lewis or not, there is truth to the statement). We believe there is no such thing as a “values-free education”; rather it is a question of which values are being communicated.
But we are not simply trying to avoid the negative implications of education. Allow me to lay out several ideas for our integration of Christian faith with the classical model of education.
First, we believe that integrating the truths of Holy Scripture is a cornerstone for the student’s ability to truly learn. We want our students to pursue wisdom, not merely the skill of regurgitating facts. We seek to form the character of students not merely to inform their minds with widgets of data. Ultimately, this allows our students to better understand themselves in this world as they “pursue Christ’s calling” on their lives. We believe that Scripture and a Christian understanding inform history, science, and all subjects. The Bible and Christian thought are not merely added on to the curriculum; they are thoroughly integrated in every subject because we believe all truth and light come from God as the ultimate Source.
Second, the Geneva community currently welcomes families from over 100 congregations around Central Florida. This is intentional. We welcome families who are unified in seeking the God of the Bible in all of life. Though we are reformational in our orientation, we realize that many different perspectives on faith make our community a wider representation of Christian faith and living.
Third, we believe in a “three-legged stool” model: Each student is nurtured by family, the church, and the school—the three legs of the stool. When those influences exist equally in the lives of the student, the stool stands level and able to serve her purpose. We recognize that equal does not mean equal time but rather commitment and involvement. Students spend a great deal of time at school, and parents are entrusting us by allowing us to share in the responsibility of forming their children. This is a trust we take with utmost gravity. So we strive always to support individual families and the worshiping communities within our school.
Finally, and related to the former, we believe that we are coming alongside parents as they try to raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The phrase “in loco parentis” refers to the responsibility of an organization to take on some of the functions and responsibilities of a parent. Derived from English common law, this concept allows schools to act in the best interests of the students in a manner we trust will support the family structure and parents’ ultimate desires for their children.
Our integration of faith and learning allows a student’s imagination to grow in wonder at all of God’s wonderful creation, whether it is literature, scientific discovery, or mathematical beauty. We also believe that the integration of faith and learning deepens each student’s commitment to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit and mature in character as they seek to serve the welfare of others. By understanding why we make the choices we make, it becomes easier to make good choices that develop Christian character. C.S. Lewis did say that the ignorant child is one “who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea” (see his essay “Weight of Glory”). We believe our integration of faith and learning not only takes students to a holiday at the sea, but it also equips them to set sail on a lifetime of discovery and true joy in learning and serving.
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