Mrs. Phillips 3rd grade class explored the Pensacola Lighthouse Museum last week and even braved the 177 steps to the top! After witnessing the amazing view of the Pensacola Pass, they enjoyed touring the museum filled with exhibits of local history pieces and information. They ate lunch on the beach in the sunshine to wrap up the festive day.
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The book of Deuteronomy is basically a reminder, or a refresher course, given to the nation of Israel by Moses before they enter into the land God promised them. In chapter five, Moses recapitulates the Ten Commandments. In chapter six, he reminds Israel to “love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deut. 6:5). He goes on to say that all the words he is teaching them, they should also teach their children; in fact, he tells them they must teach their children “diligently” all the things that he teaches the adults (Deut. 6:7). He gives fair warning of the consequence if they should fail to teach their children God’s ways: when times get good, they will forget God (Deut. 6:10-12).
We are in many ways far removed from the nation of Israel, but in other ways we are as close as ever. Our chronology, technology, and theology may be different on this side of Messiah than it was on Moses’ side, but some things never change. Take, for example, memory. People are as forgetful today as they were in the Garden of Eden or on the plains of Jericho or on the outskirts of Jerusalem. When times are good and all is going well, we often have a tendency to think more highly of ourselves than we ought and forget the blessings of God that got us where we are. God knew this about the nation of Israel, so He told them to teach diligently His ways to their children. Since we are, and our children are, as forgetful as the Israelites, then we too ought to heed this exhortation to teach our children diligently God’s ways.
God knew, too, that the Israelites would face competing gods when they came into the land and that they and their children—especially a few generations down the road—would be tempted to forget the God of their deliverance and worship idols (Deut, 6:14). That’s another reason He commanded His people to teach His ways diligently to their children so that they would not be fooled by the liturgies of idols.
Here again, we are just like the Israelites. We live in what some have called “the post-Christian West.” We, and our children, face competing liturgies every day. Everywhere we turn we are faced with some idol or ideology that is in direct, though sometimes subtle, competition with God for our affections, devotion, indeed for our worship. There is no neutral ground. Turn on the television, radio, internet; drive down the road and look at billboards; take a trip to the mall, the beach, the ballpark, the theater, the art gallery, or museum and what you will find is that God is being marginalized, pressed out, or even directly attacked by other gods.
Other gods often begin by wooing us to believe that we can have them alongside the One True God. But this is always a lie. Once they get their hooks in us, there’s no getting away. One may manage to cling to some watered down Christianity while worshipping a false god, but watered down becomes nothing at all in a generation or two. In order for us to pass the legacy of Christianity to our children, we must walk in God’s ways and teach them diligently to our children. Any compromise, any half-way covenant, any watered down version of love, trust, and obedience to God is the beginning of the end for our children. That’s why God commands His people now, just as He did thousands of years ago, to teach their children diligently to walk in His ways and to keep His commands. There are heavy consequences for not obeying, great blessings for obeying. In the second commandment God promises to visit “the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments” (Deut. 5:9-10). No Christian would say he hates God, but not keeping God’s commandments and not walking in His ways is hating God.
Don’t listen to the competition. Don’t leave your children to sort out for themselves the competing liturgies of false gods. There is no neutral ground. Don’t neglect your duty as a Christian parent. Your children’s souls are at stake. And not only your children, but your children’s children and so on and so on. Teach them diligently the ways of God, the ways of life, that they might love God, keep His commandments, and live.
As teacher appreciation season draws to a close, we would like to thank all parents and friends for their help in making our teachers and staff feel appreciated and special. The creative art projects given to each teacher, the delicious “take-home” meals and also the chocolate and cheese day were all highlights of the month. Mrs. Phillips was especially touched by the “goat bag” that was created for her. The children drew images of her favorite animal and inscribed, “Don’t worry, I goat this!” It is a blessing to have such generous families and devoted teachers. We are tremendously grateful!
The 2017 Trinitas Art contest winners were announced at morning meeting Friday, May 12th. The recipients in the categories of painting, sculpture, photography, and drawing are listed below. The Best of Show award went to Miss Abigail Tenniswood for her “Finger Fish”. After seeing paintings by Iris Scott in New York City, she was inspired to complete an oil painting using her fingers in lieu of a paint brush. Other winners, Tim Parsley and Bryce Barnes who won 3rd place in the painting category, also mimicked a beloved artist, Jackson Pollock. Mr. Pollock was the inspiration for Mr. Parsley’s senior thesis and his attempt to replicate his work was well received.
The Drama Club presented Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream last weekend with tremendous success and fan fare. With Friday night sold out and over 230 in attendance, the students were in rare form and delivered a wonderful performance! As the love affair between Demetrius, Hermia, Helena and Lysander unfolded, the laughs and twists were everywhere. Saturday was also well attended and patrons enjoyed their fairy kiss treats and scones during intermission. The Drama Club would like to thank Miss Brittany Hartke for her tireless leadership and efforts, Miss Charity Robson for her expertise and creativity directing the fairies, and Mrs. Miranda Varela for creating the amazing set which helped to convey an authentic looking garden scene and for directing the Athenians. It was a large “team effort” with excellent results! Well done Trinitas!
Congratulations to Miss McKinley Traylor for scoring in the top 50,000 juniors nationwide on the PSAT and being invited to enter the National Merit Competition. She will continue to the next level of competition in the fall. With this honor, McKinley joins the 15% of Trinitas juniors who have qualified for the National Merit Competition.
In Ecclesiastes 4:12 the “preacher” says, “Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Christian parents should apply this concept to the education of their children. When the parents, the church, and the school are all preaching the same message, the result is true education for Christian children—the kind of education that forms virtue and points children in the way they should go (Prov. 22:6). Borrowing a term from the Romans, we can call this “threefold cord” of parents, church, and school an education triumvirate.
Parents, of course, are the first cord. They bear the responsibility for educating their children in the training and admonition of the Lord (Deut. 6:6-9; Eph 6:4). No other entity can take the parents’ place in this calling. God plainly requires parents to educate their children in such a way that they know Him, that they know He created everything, that they know He even now reigns over all of it, and that He requires them to be holy.
The church, the second cord, could easily be the first mentioned in this triumvirate because it bears the responsibility for training Christian parents and then coming alongside those parents to train children. The church must preach the unfiltered word of God, making plain to parents what God requires of them concerning their responsibility to raise Christian children. No other entity, not the government and certainly not pop-psychology from Good Morning America, is responsible for training Christian parents in how to raise Christian children.
The Christian school is the third cord. The school is responsible for continuing the work done by the parents in the home and the pastors and teachers in the church. The school is to give children their reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic in a way commensurate with what the child learns at home and at church. The school is to teach the child to apply Colossians 3:23 to his studies. The school is to take a part in helping the child become a winsome, fitting vessel of the Gospel who can articulate precisely and communicate clearly. The school is to come alongside parents and church to help the child understand what it means to live a Christian life in this world. Christian children spend about thirty-five waking hours at school every week—this is an important cord.
When these three work together, it truly is a beautiful thing for the Christian child—an education triumvirate. Children who receive this kind of education hear a consistent message from parents, church, and school. There is harmony in their world; everything makes sense. Children flourish under this triumvirate and are far more likely to continue in the way they should go.
The Trinitas seniors recently finished their senior thesis project. It was as if the weight of the world fell off them on that day. They have been living with their topics and all the research and writing and re-writing for a year now. It felt good for them to turn in those papers and defend them before a panel of board members and faculty. It felt good for them to look back on their work well done and know they had accomplished that massive and daunting project they set out to accomplish a year ago.
Trinitas is not the only school that requires seniors to write and defend a thesis as a requirement of graduation. Thesis papers and sometimes a defense of those papers is a requirement in most classical schools and some prep schools as well. The requirement is in keeping with the Trinitas goal of teaching students how to think, not what to think.
The thesis paper requires research of a topic the student probably learned something about in class but ideally goes far beyond the scope of material covered in class. Students will read between 1,000 and 2,000 pages to get comfortable with their topics; then they write papers approximately fifteen pages in length. Of course, they’ll probably write more than one paper like that in their first year of college. Even though they aren’t in college yet, thesis gives them a good taste of what is coming in the years ahead.
Once the paper is turned in at the end of the third quarter, students begin preparing to defend their theses. This is the part that really makes them nervous. During the defense, students present a summary of their papers in a room packed with family, faculty, and board members. After each student presents his or her summary, a panel of six faculty and board members peppers the student with questions. Many of these questions will not be directly from the text of the student’s paper but will instead ask the student to extrapolate by applying his or her position on the topic to real world scenarios. This is the most uncomfortable part of the thesis defense for students and parents, but it may be the most important as well. Trinitas aims to graduate students who can think on their feet, especially concerning a topic they have researched for a year. We are sending these students out into what can be a cold and hostile world, and we want them to be able to think on their feet well enough to give an answer to the world for the hope that is within them (1 Peter 3:15).
I am happy to report that all Trinitas seniors defended their theses well this year and can pass out of the halls of Trinitas and into the great wide world knowing they have accomplished much. Well done, Class of 2017!
Come one, come all. Tickets are now on sale in the office for our drama production Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Tickets are $5 per person. Show times are Friday, May 5th, at 7:00pm and Saturday, May 6th, at 1:00pm and 7:00pm. Get your tickets early. We normally sell out for both evening shows. Concessions will be available at all shows.
The 3rd and 7th grades enjoyed exploring caves and discovering dark treasures underground at the Marianna Caverns on May 4th. They traveled to Marianna, Florida to experience the beauty of this geological marvel. The students were able to implement their studies in science as they learned about various rocks and rock formations at this amazing state park. After adventures in hiking, watching for bats, and finding salamanders in the cave, the students relaxed with a picnic on the grounds.