Tempus Fugit, Carpe Diem!
It’s hard to believe that it’s already back to school time. I cannot believe that the summer is already gone. It feels like it just flew by. A couple days ago I was just thinking of all the things I had planned to do this summer and didn’t get to. I had all sorts of plans for yard work and landscaping, traveling, recreation time with the family, Oliver and I were going to fly an airplane, there were many more books that I wanted to read, and writing that I wanted to do. When the school year ended it seemed like the summer would go on forever. When June came around, I thought, “I have plenty of time.” When July came, I still felt no real sense of urgency. It felt like I had plenty of time.
Now it’s gone.
But then again, at the end of last school year, I had conversations with many of you and we were saying the same thing about the school year. It went by so fast. Where did it go? It seemed like it had just begun and it was over.
Some of you have seniors this year. How is that possible? Some of you have children, brothers and sisters leaving home to go off to college. How is THAT possible? It seems like just yesterday they were babies. And yet, for some of you, all of this is just beginning. You are getting ready to drop your kids off with someone else for the first time. It is possible that you cannot begin to comprehend how quickly time will pass. I can assure you though, you will blink twice and the time will be gone.
It’s enough to make us kind of melancholy if we dwell on it too long. But a melancholy mood is not the way to start the school year – especially at Trinity. So as I thought about how we SHOULD begin the year, I thought, what better way at a Classical school than with a Latin expression, or two. I’ve already used the one that is causing the melancholy mood, so here is another one…
This is perhaps the most commonly used of all Latin phrases. Sieze the Day! It’s an exciting phrase, and I can hardly write it without using at least one exclamation point. It’s a phrase that makes you want to shout – like a battle cry! The secular use of this term urges us to get as much stuff as we can. Get it while the getting’s good, go for the gusto, grab what you can,go,go,go, do,do,do, if it feels good, do it, serve yourself whenever you can. This summer Janine and I went on a date and we went to see this movie where the good-looking male hero was describing all the things he wanted to do before he died to his beautiful lady sidekick. The heroine listened intently, her lips pursed slightly in a smile and an adoring look in her eyes. “Me”, was his message. What I want for me. I kind of looked around the theatre and wondered if this bothered anyone else. The fact is, we are living in an age that is becoming known to many as the age of narcissism.
As parents, as teachers, and especially as Christians, the idea of seizing the day should be at the forefront of our thoughts, but from a different worldview than the secular view. As we begin a new school year I am looking at this phrase as if I am staring down the barrel of a loaded gun. Think about that for a moment. Imagine what it would be like to be on the wrong end of that barrel, anticipating what was about to happen. Imagine how valuable one more day would be; One more hour; One more moment. That type of attitude is what we should have when it comes to raising and educating our children. The time is fleeting fast, Tempis Fugit, and everything we do is teaching our children a lesson. We must be wise in the lessons we teach them. Even though the time is short, the impressions last forever. As CS Lewis says, in The Weight of Glory “You have never talked to a mere mortal.” Recently I heard a speaker who reminded his audience of this message, saying that when we are parenting and when we are teaching in our classrooms, we are dealing with eternal beings. Our time with our kids is so short and there is so much to be done to prepare them.
That is why I am so thankful for Trinity Christian School. On Monday, the men and women who will be partnering with you to train your kids will be stepping into the classroom for the first day of the 2010/2011 school-year. They will be teaching them math and spelling and catechisms and literature and science and many wonderful things. They will be preparing them for advanced education in college, helping them learn how to take tests, and advising them on how to get scholarships. But more importantly, these men and women understand the eternal value of what you are going to hand over to them in a few days. It’s no small thing to them. For whatever reason you may think that these teachers are at Trinity, let me assure you, these teachers are here at Trinity because of you. Because there are families in our area that want their kids to be cared after, instructed, trained, and corrected in the ways of the Lord. At Trinity we are not facing “another school year” or dreading getting through another day. We are not coming into this year letting the chips fall where they may. This week I heard a group of teachers discussing “teachable moments,” and another teacher praying that the Lord would bring teachable moments into his classroom. They are anticipating that the Lord will do great things through this ministry at Trinity.
Here are a couple bible verses I’d like you to look at:
Hebrews 10:24-25 —And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
As I look at this verse there are two things that stand out to me in my mind. The first thing is the sense of action. The idea of stirring up indicates that we are to be active in our relationships. Most of the time when I hear the words “stir up” it brings a negative connotation to mind, like stirring up trouble, or stirring up strife. In this case the writer is asking us to consider, to think about, to talk about how to stir each other up for love and good works. I think this sense of action is of utmost importance in our relationships with our children. The time we have with our kids is so short and it is essential that we seize every opportunity to teach and train them while we have the time. Christian education is essential to this idea. The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deut. 6:5-9
In other words, all the time.
The other part of the verse in Hebrews that got my attention is the phrase “as you see the day drawing near”. In its proper context this means the second coming of Christ. However, we can learn a lesson from this in our daily lives as well. As the day is drawing near can be many things. It can be the first day of school. It can be the day of a big test. It can be the day of a band concert or a soccer tournament. It could be the day of graduation. Here at Trinity, I am thankful that we have a culture in our school that encourages our students to be ready. Our teachers are committed to it, for sure, but our students are as well. There is a stirring up among the students to do their best work and to encourage one another. I get to see this first hand so many times in the hallway at athletic events, in the band, and so many other times.
This past week the teachers have been here getting ready for the school year. They have been cleaning their rooms, putting up artwork, dusting off books, laminating cute and colorful things to put up on their walls, and brushing up on their areas of expertise. But more importantly, they – we – have been preparing ourselves spiritually for a task we take very, very seriously. We love our kids. We love you. We love the Lord our God and are committed first and foremost to him.
As we begin this year I’d like to share one more verse with you that has meant so much to me through my time at Trinity.
Eph. 4:11-16—11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
At Trinity we are one school, one united body “joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” Even our building is a symbol of that unity. We have one long roof. We take kids in at one end, nearly babies and send them out the other end, nearly grown. We are not Trinity Christian grammar school, TC high school, TC athletic development school, TC fine arts School, TC tech school or any thing else like that. We are a group of teachers, students, and families and we are getting ready to come back together for another year.
Tempus Fugit. Carpe Diem. Time flies, seize the day. At the day draws near point I’d like to ask you to take every opportunity seize the day as well. How? Prepare your kids. Expect the best from them. The time with them is short. Explain to them that being a student is their calling at this point in their lives. Teach them to love what God loves and hate what God hates. Teach them to value hard work and diligence. When they come home complaining about a homework assignment, a stupid rule, or a uniform code they don’t like, please be very careful with your response.
Finally, I’d like to ask one more thing of you. Take every moment you can to pray for us at the school and look for ways to encourage and bless these teachers. Stir each other up for love and good works. Actively look for ways that you can bless them. I cannot tell you how much it means to them to get a note or a visit letting them know that you pray for them.
Have a great school-year.