I must admit it has been easier to consider what we have lost over the past year rather than remember what we have gained. Without question, many have experienced great loss during this unprecedented time. Some lost loved ones, others lost jobs and security, and our 2021 seniors lost their long-awaited trip to Italy. The masks hanging in my kitchen have daily reminded me of this interruption.
But as we prepare for the end of a school year like no other, I'm reminded one year is not a lifetime. We have so much for which to give thanks. I want to take a fresh look and reflect on God’s deep provision, the evidence of His presence, and rest in His deep love for us.
In a few short weeks our youngest child, Eli '21, will graduate. Both our daughter, Ellee '18, and Eli began their journeys in kindergarten with Mrs. King. I remember wrestling with the decision to choose a “free” education or one for which we paid. Could we make it work? Were we willing to make the needed sacrifices? What if at some point our kids think the grass looks greener on the other side?
All children are unique and everyone’s story is different. Honestly, a classical Christian education simply sounded like a good idea to us. As Grammar parents, we started to see our children were not just learning, but learning how to learn. If you have come through Grammar School as a parent, you undoubtedly can recite Patrick Henry’s speech, sing the Thirteen Colonies song, and recite Psalm 100. During our early years at Caldwell, I would often read the Dialectic newsletter in Eagle’s Call with curiosity about what was to come.
As Ellee moved into her middle school years, we were asked to write down our hopes and aspirations for when she graduated from Caldwell. Among other things, I wanted her to know she was loved. I wanted her to be confident, prepared, and grateful. In the Dialectic School, our children read literature, absorbed history, and explored science with an emerging ability to think critically, investigate, argue, and debate.
Their Rhetoric School experience cultivated their ability to craft abstract thinking into well-formulated and articulated expressions of meaning. We saw this not only in the many papers they wrote and speeches they delivered but also in our daily conversations. Their growing self-expression afforded us precious insight into how they viewed and processed the world around them.
Our children leave Caldwell with more than a simple academic education. Some of the greatest lessons they learned were not taught from textbooks or lab experiments. Instead, they were modeled by Caldwell's leaders and teachers, our children's peers, and the community of parents who partnered with us along the way.
Through the many simple, yet highly intentional acts of grace, love, and generosity, our kids have witnessed God's character. For example, on Ellee’s first day of kindergarten, the Head of School greeted us with a wave as we drove in. Even though he waved to every car, we knew it told our children they were very important and cared for. Mr. Curlott and his team's endless efforts to maintain a beautiful campus taught our children to work diligently with humility and to appreciate what they receive. Ellee now counts many of her Caldwell teachers as lifelong friends. Eli was forever changed by Mr. Mack Wright, who taught him kindness, joy, encouragement, and forgiveness are life’s truest riches.
I appreciate the importance and purpose of Caldwell's many traditions. I am also grateful for Caldwell’s commitment to seeing our children’s worth in who they are rather than in what they do. The grass did look greener on the other side, a time or two, but not green enough. Our children leave Caldwell as truth-seekers. They leave with the knowledge of God’s deep love for them, the readiness to engage the world around them, and the capacity to love wide. We are ever grateful for these valuable gifts.