TCS – A Window to Our Community

written by: Patti Hinze, Board Member

It’s Thursday night. Perhaps you have spent your day wiping noses and bottoms while also convincing your five-year-old to write row after row of a lower case ‘e’ that looks like English instead of ancient Sanskrit. Meanwhile the baby is trying to drop her morning nap, and the toddler is obsessed with the math manipulatives and executes a flop tantrum when you tell him he may not chew on the counting bears or fling the plastic pennies all over the living room. Maybe your kids are older, and you have spent the day learning about Charlemagne or the Napoleonic Code, or, if you are very lucky, the exploits and foibles of the awesomely named Tarquin Superbus. You have drilled phonograms and Latin questions. You have attempted correct fingergrams for Spell to Write and Read, suspecting that your wild gesticulations resemble a cab driver in Rome who has just been cut off by a Superbus. Perhaps you, like I, have frantically searched your house in vain for the compass AND protractor your 6th grader needs in order to do his investigation for Saxon math. You have undoubtedly, during all this educating, also washed several loads of clothes and kept your humans fed. Your floors are mysteriously…gritty. Your nerves are frayed. Your resolve is waning. 

And yet. We gather together for TCS Parent Night at the end of a day like this. Do you know why we gather? We gather to remind one another that God provides. In our reading for Deuteronomy this week, Moses is beseeching the Israelites to remember how God led them through the wilderness. He reminds them that God delivered them from fiery serpents and scorpions! He reminds them that God gave them water from a rock and manna from heaven! He reminds them because he can tell they are already beginning to forget.

We, like the Israelites, tend to forget. We forget that God cares for us and that He put us in this TCS community to care for one another. Mr. Anderson reminded all of us that this is an adventure into the life of the mind; both ours and our children’s. This adventure requires work; the work of reading and praying and worshipping and memorizing math facts. Remembering is hard work.

Singer/songwriter Joe Deegan began the night with songs that reminded us that despite hardship, setbacks and suffering, a Great Story is being told in our lives, and, as C.S. Lewis wrote, “every chapter is better than the one before.” Deegan sang of Zephaniah’s proclamation that God takes great delight in us, and that He exults over us with loud singing! I had forgotten. We worship to remember. 

John Mays, who is the author and architect of much of our science curriculum at TCS, reminded us of our call to Biblical faithfulness. Mays has spent his life teaching students to view creation through a God-rendered lens. He loves truth. He loves beauty. He loves complex equations that point to a Divine Mathematician who set the planets in their orbits. (And if we could just find the compass and protractor, we might be able to give our child the rudiments of uncovering this truth..) 

What does this look like, to live as educators called to Biblical faithfulness? It looks like finding delight in what Mays described as the “incredible and lavish gift” that is Creation. We should continually remind our students to use their senses to see, and hear, and taste, and smell and feel that all of Creation is showing them who God is. When they get weary of fact sheets, phonograms, and Latin drills, encourage them to go outside and marvel at the ruby-throated hummingbirds battling for territory at your crepe myrtle. Let your child dig up a gigantic mushroom and bring it to school to show her class. Give your kindergartner a magnifying glass and listen to his full report of what he discovered from a square foot of your back yard. “Wonder and take delight,” Mays reminded us, “in the bioluminescence of a jellyfish; the manual dexterity of the human hand.” He cautioned against being fearful that scientific understanding might undermine our or our children’s belief. “Be fearlessly scientific!” he admonished. “Persevere in the thrilling intellectual journey while winsomely demonstrating the testimony that God made the heavens and the earth!” 

Why do we gather? We gather to remember the goodness and awe-inspiring creativity of our Creator. We gather to sing the Doxology, and to remember the One from whom all blessings flow. We also gather to eat ice cream (thank you, Mrs. Berend!), and drink delicious coffee (thank you, TCS barristas!) and to hug each other. We remind one another that we are doing a good, hard thing. God created us for something lasting and lovely. In his closing, John Mays left us with this: “We place our trust in the harvest. We devote our minds, our bodies, our thoughts, and our sweat” to this endeavor. Will you remind me when I forget?