Occasionally we hear a comment made in regard to our school that we either are or need to be a model of some type of education. The comments vary:
- A model of covenant school education
- A model of parental support
- A model of Charlotte Mason philosophy
- A model of compassion and support for hurting families
- A model of serving the community
- A model of lay ministry through the policy board (SMT)
- A model of sharing education between parents and teachers
- A model of genuine faculty focused on the heart as well as the head
Whoa! Those are lofty statements - certainly humbling if true in any way and convicting because we fall so short of being a true model of any of these.
At our Investigating Perimeter School seminars, it is typical for folks to want to observe what we do by visiting classrooms to see if what I have described is being modeled in our classrooms on a daily basis. I always cringe a bit even while encouraging them to come, wondering if my idealism will be embarrassingly exposed. But then I remember - the best thing that Perimeter School actually models is covenant family living.
What does that mean? First off, it is nothing about which we should be embarrassed. In fact we should rejoice in what God has given us. Our model is usually gladly embraced or strongly rejected. We try to model quality and superior education, but the qualities that make it so are vastly different from the values of current contemporary and classical education. We want students who not only know things, but can discern which things are true and which are not. We want families who are passionate about the growth and nurture of their neighbor’s children, as well as their own. We want teachers who see students, not only in terms of how they perform on assessments, but also in how their minds and hearts and behaviors are engaged in probing, questioning, and discerning the truth.
This kind of approach is messy. It is not a squeaky clean approach to life. At times people get mad, are misunderstood, have to seek forgiveness, and have to rebuke their brothers and sisters. It is a model that is hard to market because it is not measured in test scores, gold stars, or character awards. In some cases it is not even appreciated until the fruit is harvested years later.
So whether we are a model school really is irrelevant. Our focus must be: are we continually learning to serve Christ better by serving each other? As Paul said, “. . . not that I have obtained it yet, I press on towards the upward call. . .” May God help us to be mostly a model of joy, repentance, compassion, and a messy pursuit of truth. By His grace, let’s covenant together to model Jesus to our students, our families, and our community.