Rare are the parents who don’t hope that their child will grow up sharing at least some of the same values and interests they hold dear. Events of life often modify values in the next generation and youthful rebelliousness is a stage most youth wade through. Young people mature to adopt most of the values taught and modeled, but also adopt much of the culture in which they are raised. When the cultural values are in conflict with the family, conflict and disappointment result. Raising children in a neighborhood that encourages lifestyles contrary to the family is not easy, though in God’s power not impossible. Inner city families I have known even have differing results; one child following the gangs while the others remain faithful to family values.
Educator Bob Tennies recently wrote, “The authority of Scripture is being diminished in society. Christian churches and schools exist to counter this trend…By shaping the next generation we can reinvigorate our vision to nourish society with the Word of God (and) spread the gospel.” Parents in this culture face many cultural obstacles in attempting to bring up Godly children. It is difficult to accomplish parenting alone. We need the support of others, school, church, friends, etc.
If, as mentioned in the last column, 15,000 of our child’s hours are spent with strangers (teachers) can we trust them to model, teach, and affirm the values we hold to be important? When I was a student, speaking about God and praying was acceptable, but today much of Godly foundations have been legislated out of the classroom. Even the acknowledgement of God is frowned upon, thus the importance of Christian schools! We are a partnership equipping and working with families to instill in our students character that we believe is important.
Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10, 12 – “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up...A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
UCA was founded as an alternative partnership for parents seeking to raise their children with a Christian foundation that they might be valuable witnesses of God’s love and compassion in their relationships. I am amazed at how often our faculty take the time not only to help students master the academic subjects, but also spend time encouraging and modeling Christian character in conversation and discipline. Parents who have come to UCA indicate this is why they considered our school. What they experience as parents and teachers partner together in the teaching process is very special. We cannot mold leaders of the future alone as effectively as we can together.
Homeschooling is one alternative, but most parents are not knowledgeable in every subject. We have some of the finest teachers who are skilled in teaching, mentoring, and living as disciples. In the Upper School they have backgrounds in their respective fields that few parents can match. And the interaction on a social and daily basis, how to get along with peers, is something that can only be learned by experience, each child at their own pace will find ways to become part of a group if they are to succeed in life. We spend a lot of time being sure students know how to relate n a compassionate and Christ-like way.
Outstanding faculty, a commitment to partner with parents to do whatever it takes to educate you child with values that honor God as well as knowledge makes UCA an investment in the future that is certainly worth the cost. Let’s continue to work together on this opportunity God has place in the Northeast Kingdom to ensure we have students who through all the pains of growth will make every parent proud and society stronger because of the character, passion for good, and vision we instill in your children. It is a partnership for the future, for which I am extremely grateful.
Rev. J. Loring Carpenter Interim Head of School