by Dr. Shane Arnold
College Prep is too small a goal. We are loyal to the 30-year-old version of you.
To this day, my parents still have wood heat. My dad loves it and is able to do the work. They stay warm, even when the power goes out. This means I grew up stacking wood, and I hated every minute of it. Consequently, stacking wood often became a source of conflict for me and dad.
We argued, in part, because we had a conflict of visions. I saw an obstacle to watching the Three Stooges after school. Dad saw a source heat during the cold winter months. I saw splinters. Dad saw survival.
In short, Dad had brought a broader understanding to the task. He saw beyond the
immediate circumstances and physical exertion of the present moment for a future good. I, on their other hand, lacked a long-term vision and missed the whole point.
It is easy to do this when you serve in education. After all, there is so much to focus on
today. There are papers to write today. There are books to read today. There are grades received today.
The same is true for teachers. There are lessons to prepare today. There are lectures to
give today. There are grades to give today. And if we are not careful, the urgency of today will eclipse our vision of tomorrow.
I was reminded of this recently when I listened to an interview of Clemson head football coach, Dabo Swinney. Coach Swinney said that he is loyal to the 30-year-old version of his players. He new that one day he would have to look his 18-year-old athletes in the eye when they are thirty, and they will know if he was the real deal. Thus he coaches and makes decision with that picture in mind.
Since I heard these words, I have not stopped repeating them to myself and our staff.
Keep the 30-year-old version of your students in mind as you teach. Like I did when I stacked wood as a child, they might not understand now. They might not like the effort required of them now. But like I did as a child, they will appreciate the warmth in middle of a cold winter.
You see, at CLA, we believe college prep is too small of a goal, because that goal is
finished when they are 18. Instead, we keep the 30-year-old version of our students in mind and do all we can to prepare them for life. May God help us as we do!
In this way, a CLA education is an education for formation. It is a process of becoming -
becoming a person who honors God and is effective for the kingdom.