Archive for rhetoric

Dec
01

Faith for Boys

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Boys take faith.  Anyone that has had boys or has taught boys knows that they take A LOT of faith!  I must admit that having my own family made up of the male species, me being the exception, and teaching sixth grade boys I have an abundance of exposure to boys!  I must also admit that at times I forget that boys take faith!  I do get discouraged and the boys in my life bring disappointment in ways that are hard for a female to understand.  I regularly have to give myself a pep-talk about being faithful and not losing faith, that God does love these young men in my midst and that I have a duty to our Lord to faithfully love and correct them.

This morning the Lord gave me a big hug from Heaven.  Our morning assembly began as usual and the children that are late are required to wait in the hall until the Scripture reading is completed so that they won’t disrupt the the reading of God’s Word.  We always have some students waiting in the hall.  These children filed in after the reading and the assembly continued on.  We were almost finished with the assembly when I looked into the hallway and there I saw one of our “big boys” in secondary school, obviously later than the rest.  Mr. Bryant was ready for us to sing the Gloria Patri and we all raised our hands to praise the Lord one last time before we were released to start our day in our classrooms.  Tears quickly came to my eyes as I watched this young man, who will soon be on his own in the world, raise his hands and his mouth followed the words that we all sang.  My point being that it would have been so easy for him to just stand in the hall since few could even see him.  He could have stayed at his locker two minutes longer for the assembly would conclude very shortly.  This young man could have walked to his first period class (and two years ago, I would have fully expected him to do so) but he chose to stand in the hallway, raise his large manly hands to Heaven and sing praises to our Lord.    He has no idea what a faith boost he gave me today!  (I almost ran to hug him when the song was over! :>)

With more faith than usual, and a gratefulness for God’s goodness, I pray along with Ignatius of Loyola:

Dearest Lord, teach me to be generous.

Teach me to serve you as you deserve;

to give, and not to count the cost;

to fight, and not to heed the wounds;

to labor, and not to seek to rest;

to give of myself and not to ask for reward,

except the reward of knowing that I am doing your will.  Amen.

Aug
05

Good Men Speaking Well

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OMG, IM totes rite 4 ths j0b!!1!!

How would you respond if you saw this on the resume of a prospect you were considering hiring? I suspect not favorably. Yet USA Today reported in 2006 that New Zealand’s high school students would be able to use the language of texting in national exams.

Are students today being prepared to speak and write well? What does it mean to speak and write “well” anyway? Having a strong lexicon of OMG’s and LOL’s?

Most young people today are bilingual: they know English, but they also know Textese, the chopped and re-assembled language of texting. Debates rage about the impact Textese and Twitter are having on the English language and on the English skills of young people as well. That technology affects us all is without question. That technology such as cell phones and computers are here to stay is also without question. But how will we prepare our children to navigate a world in which ubiquitous technology threatens to shape their minds and souls far more deeply than our own training of them?

Don’t interpret these words as an anti-technology or anti-texting rant. I am pro-technology, and I am known to text on occasion. But I do want us to consider how our children are being shaped and trained. Childhood is a hothouse of intellectual and spiritual development. Children are developing habits of mind and life that will affect them for a lifetime. Their theology, like ours, is, as Douglas Wilson often says, coming out of their fingertips. We, as parents and educators, must be intentional in shaping our children’s minds and hearts.

Technology, like everything else, is not neutral. We are commanded in the Scriptures to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor 10:4) and to bring up our children in the training of the Lord (Eph 6:4). Our task as parents is to train and shape our children to think, love, and act a certain way, to embody a certain culture. We are called by Scripture to model obedience to God ourselves and then to inculcate that obedience into their lives (see Deut 6:1-8). This training certainly encompasses how our children speak and write, for Christians are called to be discerning, winsome, effective communicators of truth, beauty, and goodness. This training also encompasses our children’s use of technology and their relationship to the world.

What we are about at Regents Academy is constantly raising the standards of our childrens education, resisting the cultural inertia toward being dumbed down. Is texting a threat to excellence in education? Not if we are doing our jobs as parents and as educators. We will be training them to think and speak well, whether they text or not. Together we are training our children toward a different standard, a godly excellence, a commitment to clear thinking and wise living that will make a real difference in the world for Christ.

Until next time, CUL8R.

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Twelfth grader David Henry recently delivered a speech at Regents Academy’s Open House on the topic of Andrew Carnegie and free enterprise. This was an award-winning speech in the Texas Farm Bureau Free Enterprise speech competition.

Great work, David!

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Regents Academy ninth grader Miranda Kunk recently presented a prose selection called “All the Good Things” by Sister Helen Mrosla at an Open House event. Miranda performed this piece at the TAPPS (Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools) district competition, where she won first place. She went on to the TAPPS state competition and placed fourth.

Miranda’s piece spotlights the fine work all Regents Academy students do from day to day, but her piece especially displays the presence, poise, and excellent rhetorical skill endowed to students through the Regents classical program. Miranda is growing in both wisdom and, as evidenced in this video, eloquence.

Miranda’s teachers join her parents, Michael and Francesca Kunk, in congratulating her.

Categories : rhetoric, TAPPS
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