By Dr. Aaron Farrant, Head of School
Not long ago, I was talking with one of our new teachers. Her class, in particular, has several new students this year. She was sharing with me what she had observed over the first few weeks of school. I was excited about this conversation as I love to hear the thoughts and experiences of those who are new to our community. As she began to share, she focused on something that I had not considered in a while. It wasn’t about a new teaching strategy or how to improve a schedule; it was about the influence of culture and Christ on our students.
She shared the difference she saw in the students who were returning to TCS and the new students who had recently transferred from other private and public schools. The new students were afraid to be made fun of. They vocalized that they didn’t want to try something new or do anything in front of their peers out of fear. And it was apparent that these young students had already experienced the pressures of comparison, falsely believing their worth is determined by how they perform relative to their peers. These students are seven and eight years old.
She then shared how the returning students were different. They have self-confidence. They will try new tasks, and when they make mistakes, are undeterred and focused on improvement and learning. They have embraced the idea of personal betterment and internalized the support of those around them. In that moment, I felt both pride and humility. Pride in a school I love. Pride in our faculty and staff who are training our students to find their worth in being created in God’s image. Humility to have been entrusted with leading this life changing place. And humility that my family, my own children, are being molded and shaped by these incredible people every day.
I am privileged to work with a group of people who invest more time and energy into the students who attend TCS than anyone outside our community could ever understand. The details our staff and administrators put into creating the right environment for these children and faculty is amazing. Reflection on the past six months brings to mind countless mental snapshots of our staff and administrators’ tireless work behind the scenes. Selfless late nights working to make others successful. Thankless jobs that have become routine and expected rather than appreciated. Faculty engaged in professional development, pushing to learn new concepts and delivery methods so they can be the absolute best teachers for their students. Tenderness and love shown to a child or family that is hurting, even while they and their own family are hurting. Our faculty, staff, and administrators exude joy even when happiness may be hard to find. They are committed to helping children be successful and to be known, and they create a space for each one of our students.
This is where I get to take my two sons each day. These are the people who are the models for my children. One of the most sobering thoughts I have had is the realization that my children spend more time with their teachers and those at their school then they do with me. Who I choose to put in front of them is one of the most important decisions I make as a father.
My pastor shared an example during a Sunday sermon that really stuck with me. He had four large glass containers filled with different amounts of marbles representing how many hours our children spend in church before high school graduation. These marbles represented how many hours our children spend in a place that is focused on helping them know God, learning how to have the character God desires for them, being developed into the people God created them to be. He started with a jar that held 208 marbles, representing a child who attended church every week of high school, never missing a Sunday for vacation or illness. The next jar held 364 marbles, representing a child who began attending church in 6th grade. The third jar held 676 marbles, representing church attendance from kindergarten through high school graduation. The final jar held 936 marbles, representing a child who attended church from birth and never missed a Sunday. Our pastor’s focus was on the power of time and the importance of starting early and investing in the lives of our children. As I sat there listening, I began to think. I pulled out my phone and opened the calculator. How much time, I wondered, do we at TCS have to influence the lives of our students? To model Christ? To help them see who they are created to be? To mold their character and expand their minds?
Children are at TCS for 1,260 hours per year. They spend more time with us in one year than they would spend attending church weekly from birth through high school graduation. TCS legacy students (those who attend K-8) spend 11,340 hours with us.
Then, everything came full circle. Of course TCS students are more confident, more self-assured, more willing to take risks. They have benefitted from thousands of hours of adults pouring into them, helping them see that their worth is tied to their Creator. They are children of God, created exactly as He intended. He has a plan for their lives. As I reflect on the impact our school has on our students, I became excited for our new students, because I know they will experience the same love and investment. I can’t wait to see the impact TCS has on their lives!