Our teachers have been learning and practicing for years the truth that enduring, whole person learning consists of much more than memorizing knowledge and mastering skills. While those are necessary components in anyone’s education, human relational formation is a more foundational way of thinking about what one’s child is doing each day in school. The ways that a boy or girl interacts with a subject, a study, and even the person next to them shapes how and what they are learning. Granted, most of us naturally forget much of what we have learned in our classes. (It happens as adults, too, right?!) But we never forget who we have become through the relationships and how we have been formed. The ways that our tastes and loves have been cultivated (or not) lingers for the rest of one’s life.
That is why a school like RMCA continues to press the need for continuing parent engagement and growth, no matter how old one’s child. We are all learning what it means to live in a way that prioritizes growth and enduring faithfulness measured by the strength of one’s relationships and the resilience of one’s character, not reduced to a mere score or diagnostic tool.
One aspect of growth for all of us to keep a pulse on is the role of fortitude, perseverance, and diligence play in a child’s growth. Andy Crouch, author of The Tech-Wise Family (our RMCA book-of-the-year), addresses this key part of a child’s upbringing in chapter 5 of the same title:
“The last thing you need when you are learning, at any age but especially in childhood, is to have things made too easy. Difficulty and resistance, as long as they are age appropriate and not too discouraging, are actually what press our brains and bodies to adapt and learn."
From the earliest games of peekaboo to the challenge of mastering a sport or a musical instrument, we are designed to thrive on complex, embodied tasks that require the engagement of many senses at once, and just our senses but our muscles, from the tiny adjustments possible in the human hand or voice to the gross motor movements of legs and arms…” The Techwise Family, “Learning and Working,” p. 127
Ultimately, we are created by a good God with a need to do hard things. If we aren’t challenged enough, we grow listless. If challenged too much, we can be overwhelmed. The good thing is that each of our capacities for doing hard things can grow! It is a work of a lifetime, this shaping of character. It may be one of the more important things that a child does this year, this growing in the willingness and ability to do hard things. Every step in growth is one step closer toward becoming a man or woman ready to help others. Maybe they’ll have been more prepared than we were when our time came!
Let’s continue to help each of our community’s children understand that the easy way is almost never the best way. And when it comes to working and living with people, that will always be the case! But, each of our children and families is worth that effort.