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Knowledge for Life

By Kristen Zuccola

It is my honor today to deliver the graduation address to Westside Christian Academy’s Class of 2021. As the entire class has written its senior thesis on imagination, I am going to ask you to use yours as I retell a story.

A young Swiss boy is fascinated by alchemy. He is captivated by the world and curious as to how everything in it works. His learning and curiosity grow as he does. Shortly before leaving for college in Germany, his mother succumbs to scarlet fever. Grieving, he pours himself into his studies, tempestuously working night after night, perhaps at the outset seeking to conquer death so that he would never again have to face such devastating loss. But his motives morph into something more sinister. Alone in a lab, he experiments and discovers a means by which he can bring life to non-living tissue. Beguiled by the prospect of playing god, he then robs the graves of prisoners under the cloak of darkness, harvesting the least decayed of their remains. With delusional hubris, the scientist, Dr. Victor Frankenstein says: “A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me.” With its first breath, the resurrected corpse becomes one of the most grotesque figures imaginable. Frankenstein had used his knowledge for power, which, once unleashed, would leave catastrophic consequences in its wake. In his late night, frenzied scientific inquiries, Frankenstein never asked “What ought I to do?”

Aristotle taught that there are three reasons for seeking knowledge: The first and foremost reason is Truth; the second is moral action, and the third, which he considered to be the least important, is the ability to make things or attain know-how (Kreeft 21). Current educational philosophies focus almost entirely on Aristotle’s third reason for seeking knowledge: the USE of knowledge FOR humans. Such philosophies are almost purely utilitarian and endemically man-centered as evidenced by the common question of many students today: “When will Iever use this?” To students at Westside Christian Academy and to our graduate today, I would say, “You will ‘use’ the knowledge and wisdom that you have learned, absorbed, studied, recited, debated, researched every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every month of ever year because you are not just taught information to “use.” In addition to learning “useful” knowledge, you have been taught according to Aristotle’s first and second reasons for seeking knowledge, which are all-too-often forgotten in modern education: to find the Truth and to act on it. While you have also been equipped to “use” what you have learned in many many different fields, you will be able to begin to successfully answer the most essential question that man can answer in all aspects of his life: “What ought I to do?” This question is not just a question of vocation. It is far more significant in its scope. Today, I hope to remind you, Faith, that you have been equipped with the Truth and trained to act accordingly.

David V. Hicks highlights two of Aristotle’s often-forgotten reasons for knowledge: to discern Truth and act morally. In his Treatise on Education called Norms & Nobility, he writes, “the purpose of education is not the assimilation of facts or the retention of information, but the habituation of the mind and body to will and act in accordance with what one knows” (20). Here you have hidden God’s word in your heart. You have read about historical figures— both heroes and villains. You have read of characters who loved others well and those who have shamelessly harmed others. Here you have learned about friendship and hardship; trial and error; waiting and blessing. You have learned to be a very significant class of one student. You have practiced seeking Truth and acting rightly. May you continue this search for knowledge for these ends.

To our graduate, Faith, I challenge you to look at three key parts to the question, “What ought I to do?” They are “I,” “ought,” and “to do.” We will begin with “I.” First, any individual who seeks Truth will come to know the first Bible memory verse students in WCA’s kindergarten memorize: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23. Knowing that we are sinners in need of the Savior is True and determines all things that we do. You have learned that. Second, understanding “I” in relationship to the most pure and powerful, magnificent and mighty, helps us learn that apart from God we can do nothing. Certainly, the knowledge of man’s relationship with God is the foundation, the lynch-pin, that from which all of our actions result. May your understanding of this relationship cause you to always ask: “What ought I to do?”

The next word “ought” means that we must act according to what we should do, not what we are capable of doing. The Bible’s Truth reveals what we “ought” to do all of the time. We can reflect on the Westminster Confession of Faith’s ontological question and response that our first graders learn: “What is the purpose of man?” And its answer: “To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” What we ought to do is God’s will, to His glory. Such knowledge is not merely book knowledge; this is knowledge that has been trained by the faithful instruction of parents and teachers alike for your benefit and God’s glory. This may seem obvious, but the world tells us that education and the pursuit of knowledge is the key to success— but it is the world’s success.

Peter Kreeft, author of Back to Virtue suggests a perspective different than the world’s in a paradigmatic switch that shakes the foundations of much of today’s thinking about education. Kreeft reminds Christians that the Bible tells us to obey, not succeed (89). This is something, Faith, that you came to this school already knowing, and an important reminder for any who stand at the doorstep of post-secondary education. He points out that in a utilitarian world, our behavior must be “acceptable or appropriate” rather than “good,” or “right,” or “virtuous” or “holy” (89). You see, “acceptable” behaviors are behaviors acceptable to man. When man’s acceptance becomes the standard, we have prioritized pleasing man above glorifying God. Victor Frankenstein knew that what he was attempting was not “virtuous,” for he worked under cover of darkness and in secret, and without the wisdom or guidance of his teachers, those who would have continued to help align his will towards virtuous ends. So students, and especially Faith: surround yourselves with wise counselors who know the Truth, act morally, pursue the glorification of God and seek the same for you, so that they may help you discern what you “ought” to do.

As we ask “What ought I to do?” “I” requires that we understand our rightful position in relationship to God; “ought” magnifies to which standards we should adhere. The third term is “to do.” “Doing” requires that our knowledge must take action. We do countless things during the day. We wake, we pray, we read; we eat; we calculate; we study; we wonder what it would be like to graduate in a class of one, for only one of us knows that. We relate; we imagine; we love; we think; we experiment; we create; we reason. James 1: 22-25 commands:

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets, but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

“What ought I to do?” Of course, we ought not to do anything that grieves God. This also means that we are neither slothful, hiding our learning, nor are we prideful, boasting of our learning. Our attitudes about our knowledge must be rightly fixed. Here you have learned to do hard things and things that require attention that must be sustained over long periods of time: from final exams that last ninety minutes to a thesis project that spans the course of a school year. In addition to acting upon what we know, we have a responsibility to share our knowledge— whether that be by direct instruction, living by example, or ministering to another. This might look like a young girl willing to forgive the classmate who has taken her pencil; an older brother modeling respect for his mother in front of his younger siblings; a young woman living apart from her family for the first time continuing to make choices that would honor her parents and glorify God; or young parents directly yet gently correcting their child. May you daily be blessed by doing what you know you ought to do.

Readers of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, repeatedly wish that they could pull Frankenstein aside and tell him what he ought to do, for after a manic pursuit of the scientific knowledge required to bring the creature to life, Frankenstein had “used” his knowledge to create a being that would panic and petrify, manipulate and murder. He had considered himself to be like God, considering his own will and only his. He had acted in secret, outside the oversight of wise counsel, and he had created a monster. There is no guarantee that any human, even those taught rightly, would not pursue power in the way that Frankenstein did; however, there is much hope that the crops of righteousness will be harvested from the many seeds planted and cultivated in the greenhouse of your home and your home away from home, Westside Christian Academy.

So Faith, your world is about to change as you will enter into an unimaginatively large class of freshmen next year, the likes of which you might not yet be able to fathom. In all seriousness, as you head into the next stage of life, go, equipped with an understanding of knowing who you are in Christ; discerning God’s will, prioritizing it over your own; acting responsibly and humbly; and seeking and praying for God’s guidance to determine, even in the smallest of things, “What ought I to do?”

Works Cited:
Hicks, David V. Norms & Nobility: a Treatise on Education. University Press of America, 1999.
Kreeft, Peter. Back to Virtue: Traditional Moral Wisdom for Modern Moral Confusion. Ignatius Press, 1992.

The Head, Chest, Abdomen and Feet: Educated for Eternity

By Kristen Zuccola

Scottish fantasy writer George MacDonald tells the coming of age story of the character, Anodos, who, on the eve of his 21st birthday is given a key. With this key, he unlocks a compartment of a long-forgotten desk, from which emerges a fairy. The next morning, he awakens to see his bedroom transforming into a fairyland of sorts. He is ushered into this fairyland, a dreamlike place, where he discovers that he is in a “chronic condition of wonder.” CS Lewis, author of the Chronicles of Narnia, holds MacDonald’s novel, Phantastes in such high regard that he claims that the novel “baptized his imagination.” Much like Anodos, CS Lewis’s characters can live in the world of men and, through deep pools while wearing rings or through the doors of wardrobes, cross into other worlds. As Christians, we find ourselves in similar circumstances: we live with one foot in this world and one stepping into another. The classical Christian approach helps students reside concurrently in both the temporal and eternal. WCA students, particularly in their Upper School years, are being equipped to live with one foot in the world of men and the other in the eternity of God by examining three components of the complete man borrowed from Plato’s Republic: the head, which is the source of reason; the abdomen, which is the source of the appetite; and the chest, which is the source of the will.

First we will look at the head, the source of reason. The world sends a very clear and unbiblical message to our students. That perspective is that a man’s intellect is his own to develop for the purpose of achieving worldly success: securing a good job, earning the adulation of others, acquiring wealth and power. From this perspective education serves the man, not God. With a foot firmly planted on the eternal things, students learn that because they are made in God’s image, they are stewards of their intellect; in addition, it is not the core of who they are, for they are image bearers whose purpose is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. In this context, he is a man who will one day love and lead his family well. She is a woman who will create beauty. They will seek and proclaim truth. Each will invent things that will bring God glory, not destroy mankind and their families. What a better way to learn and grow than to understand the One in whose image we were created. That is why we endeavor to step into the world of the eternal as a faithful body who prays, studies and recites Scripture, and sings songs of praise. That is why we continue to hold fast to Proverbs 9:10, which says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” With two feet, one planted in this world, one stepping into the next, students grow ever-more equipped to use their minds to the glory of God, not themselves.

Second, we will look at the stomach, the source of appetite. In this world, man loves that with which he is familiar. Students are under the continual barrage of images, pop culture, and branding familiarizing them with things about which God tells them to take warning: love of money, power, laziness, physical beauty, and more. We also know that man becomes enslaved to those things for which he hungers and thirsts. We know that God has put eternity in the hearts of men, so it is fruitful to direct their feet into the world in which it is natural to love that which is good, true, and beautiful: learning, engineering, composing, order, discovering, competing, hard work, camaraderie, physical fitness, studying, creating, teamwork, athletics, serving, and the outdoors. Even when a student’s feet are in two worlds, with proper training, he can be equipped to love the things for which he should have an appetite. James 1:17 tells us that every good and perfect gift is from above.

Last of all, we will look at the chest, the source of the will. The foot planted in this world is led by catch phrases “Follow your heart”; “Your truth is your truth”; and “Whatever makes you happy.” Upper School teachers regularly direct students to heed the first commandment: Thou shall have no other gods but me. The autonomy that teenagers developmentally seek must be pursued within the confines of God’s order. This means that they learn to sit under the authority of their teachers so that they can sit under the authority of their parents and ultimately the authority of God. They read literature that helps them analyze the will of man when he attempts to be his own deity. This enables students to, from a distance, analyze false teachings. That way they can fortify their thinking against falling prey to infectious and contagious ideologies.

Living an abundant life with one foot in the world of men and one in the kingdom of God is possible with the grace of God, and made easier by an education that trains the whole person to become a man of virtue. In the Upper School, we continue to examine the degree to which students plant their feet in this world while preparing them to step into the eternal.

Young Minds & Ancient Myths

“Why does a Christian school spend so much time on mythology and ancient pagan cultures?”

I have heard this question many times in various forms and each time I answer it, I myself grow more deeply convicted that we must teach these myths purposefully, not squandering their ability to capture the imaginations of our students and engage them in the cosmic clash of good verses evil. 

Beginning in second grade, our students embark on a journey through history through the eyes of many pagan cultures: the mysterious world of the ancient Egyptians, the pantheon of immortal but highly imperfect Greek and Romans gods, the gruesome Norse tales or the romanticized knights and legendary dragons of the Middle Ages. 

At first glance it seems counterintuitive that our quest for the true, good, and beautiful could be furthered by wading into tales that are false, ugly and oftentimes terrible. The confusion begins to dissipate when we see that there is, at the core of all mythology, a desire for humans to understand and explain themselves and the world around them, therefore, all mythology contains elements of truth, albeit marred by our humanness. There is a longing and a yearning for something higher than ourselves which has been felt since Creation that no man can ignore. Mythology is an expression of that desire.

Without special revelation, like that of Israel, cultures across time and space have ascertained some basic truths through general revelation, such as: there is a higher power than us, we were created, we are not inherently good and we need a hero, a rescuer, a Savior. Those are deeply beautiful truths and can be found in cultural myths throughout recorded history. Some stories even align so spectacularly with truth that it seems God surely must have written them into the hearts of men. For example, I cannot read the myth of Pandora’s Box and ignore the echoes of Eve, a woman, who through curiosity and disobedience to her creator, brought every manner of evil into the world, but also the hope of redemption from those very things. 

Mythology is filled with these shadows of reality, hollow echoes of truth, warped but sincere attempts to explain the supernatural. In exploring the origins of humanity, acknowledging the reality of sin in our world, and recognizing our need for a hero to save us from it, we learn that truth is written in our hearts so deeply that we are often unaware. If sin became part of the human form in the garden, is it so surprising that with it came some dim, unfocused, longing; a sense of that world we lost, the one that was as it was designed to be?

Children feel a longing for a perfect world just as the ancients did. They grieve over unfairness and injustice in our world. Like the ancients, they also live in a world they do not understand and can connect with the feelings of confusion and a desire to comprehend the unexplained. They learn well through stories just as the ancients did. They are capable of extracting great truth from works of fiction. 

When the modern church sought to establish credibility with the world, our focus on logic, reason, facts, and apologetics became central to the Christian walk. While these things are good and proper and support truth, they have taken the spotlight and at times refuse to share it with faith, wonder, and dare I say, the “magic” of our supernatural heavenly Father and His sacrificial lamb who came to offer salvation to the world.  

C.S. Lewis inspired many of us to go through the wardrobe with him and recall the power of fictional wonder and magic to carry the weight of real truth. The leap to allow the same from pagan fictional stories can be a scary one. It is a necessary leap, however, our students seek to understand human nature and the cultures juxtaposed with the church throughout history. We do not seek to disciple students in a bubble — untouched by the world they are commissioned to serve —- but instead in a greenhouse, exposed with great care to the elements, until they are strong enough to withstand them alone. By teaching students at a young age to discern truth and beauty from ancient, fictional, pagan works, we send roots into the ground that will withstand the shaking of modern, fictional, pagan ideas that will surround them as young adults. 

So the next time you peak into a class of 4th graders reading Beowulf or hear 3rd graders recount the Myth of the Minotaur remember that there is a skilled pilot at the helm of these stories, steering them through the murky waters to discern truth, beauty, and goodness in or in contrast to the ideas contained within.

A Biblical Framework for Considering Risk

By:  M. Prentis &  N. Taylor

As I continue to grow older, I’m not sure if the “bad things” happening in the world are increasing, or if I’m simply becoming more aware of them. With the news and media at ever increasing rates of alerts, dings, and notifications, it’s near impossible to avoid all the “bad news.”  As a Christian, one thing is certainly clear: Our world is broken and in need of a Savior. And while this is true, it can feel deceptively simple to apply lofty theological truths to the choices we make each day. In a world where everything seems to be threatening and dangerous, the choice between staying inside or venturing into the outside world becomes not only relevant, but seemingly life-dependent. The problems our world faces can be dangerous and frightening. The stakes for the choices our community may make for this coming year seem high; these are our children, our families, our loved ones. The high stakes cause us to survey the trials and difficulties around us, to ask “How shall I then live”? 

The good news in the midst of the bad is that our God never leaves us without guidance. He gave his Holy Spirit as a comforter and His Word as a light for our paths. And while we might not have a specific mandate about pandemics, there is always so much to be learned from God’s word. Ultimately, living a Christian Life is about living in risk. Jim Elliot seems to have understood this better than anyone when he said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what we cannot lose.” 

What is Risk? 

Christian Living

There are countless stories of apostles, church members, and missionaries taking major risks for the sake of the Gospel. They show us through their choices that Christians are never promised comfort in life, but we are promised comfort in the Holy Spirit. Following the comfort of the Holy Spirit may take us to the far ends of the world, or to boldly open conversation with our neighbors. All of our choices in daily life involve some risk assessment, no matter how minor the choice. This is why knowing the word of God is of the utmost importance – it is meant to be our guide as we discern Christian living. 

Balance of Reward and Suffering

Risk is about balancing reward or suffering. When we risk something we’re putting it on the line, saying “I’m willing to lose this for the sake of gaining something else.” Whether that be financial risk, physical risk, or health risk, it’s still a matter of reward or suffering. The reward may seem to be security or comfort in any situation. But the suffering on the other side of the risk is what we must be willing to endure. (1 Peter 5; 2 Cor. 4:7; Luke 14:27; James 4:13-15) 

Truths

Our God is Sovereign (Gen. 1; Neh. 9:6; Col. 1:16)

This truth is a timeless statement. God’s plan for His creation is constantly unfolding, we can see His hand through the past, and we must trust His control in the present and future. Remembering the faithfulness of God is a command to the Israelites throughout the old Testament for this very reason – trusting is hard to do in the face of risk, in the face of fear. But we know that God has always and will always be in control. His sovereignty also means that ultimate risk is removed. When our faith is in Jesus Christ, we are secure knowing that our eternity is already determined. Christians are called to make hard choices, and engage in risk because we know that our lives are not our own – we belong, body and soul, to our Savior. But ultimately, this truth means that we do not put the Lord God to the test. When  Jesus was being tempted in the desert by Satan, he brought him to the highest corner of the temple and dared him to throw himself down, saying that God “will not strike your foot against a stone” (Matthew 4:6). In his response, Jesus makes it clear that our sovereign God is not one to be tested. We don’t put ourselves in situations daring God to demonstrate his Sovereignty. 

Community Matters 

It is part of the Image of God to be in community together. We were designed to be in each others’ presence, for prayer, for worship, for fellowship, and to accurately image God together. This complex community is built on the foundation of the Gospel, but it values the diverse opinions of those who are committed to the community. There are no substitutes for the fullness of being in the presence of our fellow believers. We must strive for unity, to love our neighbors and to submit to authorities God has placed over us.

  • Unity (Phil. 3:15-20): Our Sovereign God commands unity rooted in the message of the Gospel. But not necessarily in agreement on all things. What risks are we called to take for the sake of unity? Being unified means that we are choosing to make the Gospel first. In unity, we are willing to discuss, willing to listen to each other in the face of disagreement and differences. Unity is not a feeling of sameness or tribalism,  it’s a choice that we are called to make and a risk we must take. In unity, we are willing to risk our opinions being heard, willing to risk our rights being observed, willing to risk ourselves for the sake of the Gospel.
  • Love our Neighbors (Gal. 6:2; Matt 22:39): In the story of the Good Samaritan, he chooses to care for the needs of someone incredibly different than him. Both men were members of different groups, different tribes, but the call to take care of our neighbors transcends any man-made social boundaries. Everyone is your neighbor, but there is a special bond with our brothers and sisters in Christ. 
  • Authorities (Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13-14): The Christian life is lived in submission to God’s word which encourages us to submit to the authority placed above us. But the question is not about who has more authority, but rather what is being risked in submission to that authority. We understand that joining any community and submitting to it’s leadership may involve risk. Believers must assess both sides of what is being risked, what is the potential reward? What is the potential suffering? Once the choice is made, unity in community under authority mirrors God’s intended plan for His creation, His believers.

Challenges

We Obey What We Fear (Ps. 128:1; Ps. 111:10)

Our emotions are not sinful, they’re part of how we were created; part of the image of God. Especially when faced with “risk” and hard choices, fear is a natural human reaction. But the actions we choose to take, how we interact with each other, how we communicate may become sinful if our behavior is driven by our unchecked emotions. We must choose to engage our emotions in light of scripture. Taking care of ourselves means bringing our emotions before the Lord. As Christian author, Brene Brown writes in Rising Strong, “The opposite of recognizing that we’re feeling something is denying our emotions. The opposite of being curious is disengaging. When we deny our stories and disengage from tough emotions, they don’t go away; instead, they own us, they define us.” Fear cannot be the foundation of our risk assessment. There’s nothing wrong with being afraid for a time, but we must find our reassurance, our comfort, in the God who created us, all things, and has everything under control. 

  • Redirecting our Fears (Luke 12:34; Matthew 10:28): The Old Testament is full of commands to Fear the Lord. This type of fear is deeper than the surface emotion of being afraid, but is ultimately from the same place. We obey what we fear. In Luke 12, we are told that “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” While treasuring seems like a lovely thing to do, it is possible for us to “treasure” our fears, by holding them close to our hearts. Being a Christian isn’t about stoically ignoring our fears, but rather redirecting them. We are not to fear the things of this world, but to fear the Lord God, the Sovereign Ruler of all creation. 
  • Love Casts out Fear (John 14:26; Romans 8:9; I John 4:18): While our emotions and fears are very real aspects of human nature, we are not left alone without a comforter. The Holy Spirit was sent to us to be our guide in discerning risk. He doesn’t just rationally administer information, he meets us in our emotions and comforts. The perfect love that casts out all fear is only found in this relationship. 
  • Humility is Confidence in the Face of Fear (Hebrews 11:23-29; Acts 7:22): Moses is considered one of the most humble of the Old Testament prophets. His willingness to obey the Lord in the face of fear is what makes him so humble. Moses repeatedly took his fears before the Lord, even his disagreements with what God commanded, but in humility, he was willing to act in obedience. He chose the reward of obedience instead of avoiding the perceived suffering. His story is one of an emotional, fearful man who chose obedience and is honored for his humble faith. 

Idolization of Comfort 

One of the pillars of our current American consumerist culture is that we deserve comfort. But risks presented to us create discomfort and insecurity. Our culture tells us that comfort is something we can purchase, something we can secure, something that we can control. The desire to make ourselves comfortable can easily become an idol in our lives. Christians know control isn’t what was promised to us. We confess our desire for control and submit to our Sovereign God who does give good gifts. Exercising the gift of community means that we can work together to fight the tendencies that are all around us. 

  • Suffering is Promised (1 Peter 4:12-14; John 16:33): It is clear that Christians are going to face “tribulations” while living on this earth. This is not how God intended things to be, but it is a result of the sin that permeates every facet of this world. Discomfort is part of this life. What matters is not the kind of suffering we endure, but rather how we respond to our circumstances. Christian author, Chelsea Patterson Sobolik, writes, “When we respond to suffering well, we practically demonstrate to the unbelieving world that Christ is more glorious and precious to us than any pain and difficulty we might endure. We have the opportunity to show where and in whom we find our true treasure.” 
  • Suffering is Multifaceted (2 Cor. 4:8-9): In his second letter to the Church in Corinth, Paul tells them, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed.” Suffering in this world may be physical, emotional, mental, or physical, or all of the above. Paul is describing the multifaceted nature of suffering that Corinthian believers endured, and the kind of suffering that believers can expect today, so that we might be compassionate towards our brothers and sisters. The risks we must face in this world does not result in one kind of suffering.
  • Suffering will End (Rev. 21:3): We know that the suffering of this world is not eternal. We know that because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the one who suffered most, that there will be an end to our suffering. This world is only our temporary home. We must remember, and help each other to remember, the beautiful promise of scripture that tells us, “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Praise the Lord that he is coming again! May we all risk everything we have for the Kingdom of God. 

Questions to Consider

  • What are the personal risks to my well-being this school year? 
  • What do I need to do to manage those risks rationally and emotionally? 
  • What does it look like to comfort and counsel others through risks? 
  • To what/whom do I turn for comfort and happiness in times of need? 
    • “I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”  – C.S. Lewis 
  • How do we see emotional self-awareness demonstrated in the Bible? 
    • Readings: Psalm 42; Matthew 26:36-46; 2 Corinthians 13:5-9

Encouraging Words

Words of Encouragement from our Fantastic WCA Families
As we navigated through the new territory of remote education, our WCA parents were supportive and uplifting the entire time.  Thank you for your prayers, support, and wonderfully encouraging words.


“We pray for you daily to feel inspired, encouraged and refreshed as you give so much to your students!”

“We appreciate your diligence and care of our children during this difficult time. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed. We thank God for you.”

“As a former educator I mourn with you all as this should be the best part of the school year. I always loved the 4th quarter! I can see how much you love and care for my children and I’m forever grateful for this. I cannot imagine going through this remote learning experience with anyone other than WCA. I am honored to have had you as a part of my childrens’ lives this past year. Thank you for continuing to pour into them. We miss you all and long for the day where we can see you face to face!”

“You are a blessing to all of us.May the Lord grant you strength, health, rest, joy and a deeper understanding of how much you are loved by Him and all of us.”

“You have done a fabulous job.! You rose to the challenge in submitting to God’s plan for this year.  You didn’t lose your focus, but, rather, taught the kids through your actions that it’s ok to refocus based on God’ s direction and still work with excellence. What parent wouldn’t want that model for their children. You are loved!  We are very proud of you!”

“Just thank you for all you do!!!!  I have always appreciated teachers….now I appreciate them even more!   They truly are a gift to our children!”

“You are all faithfully and generously serving. I know it must be incredibly challenging, especially while caring for the needs of your family also. Thank you for how you serve the Lord by serving our children.”

“Thanks for all of your hard work.  School has continued to be a place of learning and engagement to the glory of Christ.”

“I have really been blessed by seeing them act professionally and with integrity in front of the kids for live streams.  They have encouraged positive attitudes in conditions where I could have almost cried for them considering the frustrating circumstances they found themselves.  I think they have gone above and beyond in many circumstances with the efforts they put forth to provide a quality school day for each child.  Their patience and perseverance has been Christlike from what I have witnessed and it inspired me to also keep on pursuing Christlikeness in my attitude.  I am very thankful for their efforts of support and a pursuit to keep the kids engaged and having fun learning.  Great job, just a great job!!”

“I never realized until now how much effort, energy, thought, diligence and love all of you put forth for our children! Saying thank you is just not good enough and I believe all of you deserve so much more than what you receive but please understand from the bottom of my heart how much gratitude I hold for all of you and that you are always in my prayers!”

“This has been a really trying time for all.  But WCA and all of you – staff and teachers – have been a blessing to our children and our family.  Thank you  and God bless you.”

“You’re doing a fantastic job!  Us parents will really appreciate all that you do on a whole new level next year!”

“Thanks for their help and support, during these trying times for everyone. I personally appreciate all the help and kindness I have received during the time my kids have been at WCA. I think they are Great!”

“Keep up the great work!!!  You’ve accepted the challenge with a positive attitude, taken the bull by the horns and made it your mission to put your best foot forward…..not allowing Satan to gain even an inkling of footing.  Well done good and faithful servants!  We so appreciate your efforts!!”

“Thanks you for all you do in these tough times”

“God bless you all! Thank you!”

“We are praying for you!”

 “Thank you, thank you, thank you! And may God bless you for the wonderful example, focus and grace that you show our children. I could not be more thankful to God for this school.”

“We adore them and their efforts- we miss them!”

“I appreciate their efforts and care for our children.  Thank you!”

“I am so grateful for our WCA teachers!!! This has been an AMAZING 11 years of education for my children.  It has been worth the financial sacrifice time and again to have such loving, shepherding mentors in my children’s lives day after day.”

“Keep encouraging the students–your kind words do make a difference.”

“Thank you for all of your love and support for our kids (and parents) across the digital connections! Your hard work and dedication have not gone unnoticed. Thank you for all you do! We are so grateful for you and are praying the Lord will use this for good for us all!”

“We know how hard you have all been working.  Your love for the kids is so evident in each class that I over hear.  I appreciate all that you put into each class and each student.  Thank you for loving, teaching, and praying for our children and families.”

“Thank you for loving our children and for all the extra work required in making virtual learning possible.”

“You are all loved and appreciated. And we know this is tough especially for those that live far away. Not every teacher is able to stop by their students’ houses and provide them with messages, but we know the ones who can’t do things like that are just as dedicated. Thank you for all your lesson planning, for making helpful videos, for investing so much time and attention into your work. I hope you’re all doing well and staying safe and above all, staying positive.”

“Thank you for all of your hard work behind the scenes, for putting yourself in our shoes and making adjustments for at-home learning. We are grateful for your leadership and the love you put into all you do!”

“I know the teachers would rather be in the class , but they are still having an important impact on their students.”

“Thank you, Thank you for not giving up on educating our students well!”

“You are doing amazing! Thank you for all of the instructional videos and little touches to connect with the kids.”

“You are doing an amazing job considering the circumstances. Thank you for your help and guidance during this unprecedented time. Thank you for the encouragement and love you give to our children! We are blessed to have you in our lives!”

 “The teachers have been very available, helpful, and understanding. I really appreciate their patience as there has been a bit of a learning curve. Thank you!”

“The teachers have been so gracious and encouraging! They each have their own stressors and own families to care for and yet they are making time to write cards, get on class live streams when my child is having a rough day to encourage them, and even stopping by the home with a treat or special sign. I’m so thankful for how well they love my children and our family and their self sacrifice does not go unnoticed.”

“Thank you for your flexibility, ingenuity, positive, Christ-centered, and continued investment in our children.”

“Thank you for all the time you are putting into your class. I recognize you are also a parent and helping with your child’s ‘at home’ schooling. Thank you for how often you are available to help us.”

“Please stay strong in the knowledge that we love you and support all the extra hours you are putting into these last weeks of the 2019-2020 school year.”

“You are all amazing! You have handled this transition from classroom to distance learning with grace, making it look effortless! Thank you for all you do!”

“They are doing an EXCELLENT job. We are very thankful for their extra work they are doing to make this online teaching successful. We understand that this isn’t easy to do. You can see the effort they are putting forth for our daughter. We are blessed by each one. We have friends in other schools and have not had much Interaction with the teachers. Praising God for WCA teachers.”

“We appreciate the efforts of teachers who have reached out in special ways and accommodated requests for more help and/or more time.”

“I know this is challenging, but keep up the good (and hard) work you are doing! You are making a difference in our children’s lives.”

“May God bless them and hold them close to Him.  Their roles are now seen as even more important than before and that’s a wonderful thing.”

“The teachers did a great job with quickly organizing assignments and setting up google classroom.”

“Incredible job learning a whole new way of teaching on the fly. I imagine you’ve been busier than ever. Thank you. And thank you for your patience as parents and kids adapted.”

“I am proud of how quickly the teachers got google classroom up and running, this has been a learning curve for most of us. They have done a great job in communicating what is expected each day.”

“We SO appreciate their love for our children and grace when things may not be done their way!! SO THANK YOU!!”

“We think all the WCA teachers are very cool. :)”

“We are so grateful for all you do! One of the “silver linings” to all of this is that we have been able to see and hear you working with our kids in a way that we never have before. The love and patience that you all have for your students and their families is amazing! I couldn’t imagine a better team of people to help us shepherd our children into adulthood! Thank you! ❤️”

“Teachers are trying to teach as best as they can remotely as we can see and trying to stay connected with all kids.Fantastic job!”

“We are so grateful for your positive attitudes, patience and helpfulness. Thank you for doing your best to help our children finish the school year! May the Lord bless you and keep you and give you strength and endurance to finish strong!”

“Thank you. You are a blessing and a treasure.

“Thank you for being available for google meet and FaceTime one on one sessions with my kids in areas that they struggle. They don’t want to receive all the instructions from me. It is nice from them to learn from their teachers who are way, way more educated than I am in teaching.”

“The teachers have handled this with such patience, and kindness and grace to us parents, who were totally overwhelmed at first. I’m so thankful for that. When I’ve dropped balls, and I’ve dropped many, the teachers were there to encourage, never condemn. I really needed that.”

“Great job!!! Very thankful for the “consistency” and “creativity” that they try to provide the students and try to adjust themselves as well. Well done!!! Praise God!”

“you have been amazing and wonderful. you have even figured out how to love on my kids via the computer!”

“We so appreciate the support, encouragement, flexibility, and love the teachers have poured out over these last few weeks. Thank you for all your hard work!”

“I Cor. 15:58 So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”

“I so appreciate all the extra things the teachers have done to try to stay connected and maintain consistency for the kids. They put a routine in place with lightning speed which has made all this possible.”

“We know this was stressful for everyone but I pray we all learned and grew from the experience. We also hope you all have a wonderful summer with your families and that your time together is blessed.”