How Christian schools develop a foundation of core Christian valuesJohn Blois
When it comes to deciding where to send your child to school, the sheer volume of choices in front of you can be overwhelming. There are lots of different factors that will help you to whittle down your options to a shortlist.
It’s not surprising that many parents choose to send their children to Christian schools – with Christian values at their core, schools built on a Christian faith are committed to growing students in the good characteristics upheld by society and actively work to ensure these characteristics are being instilled at school, where they spend a large amount of their formative years.
What are Christian values?
The best way to truly understand the values that are at the heart of the Christian faith is to turn to the Bible.
Jesus was asked by a Sadducee what he believed to be the most important of the commandments and in answer, he said the following:
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: 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 mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Much later, Paul the Apostle is encouraging early Christians in Galatia to be led by the Spirit, rather than the flesh, and he explains the fruits of the Spirit to them:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
These two passages help us to understand that knowing God, and loving Him, should inform our actions and behaviours so that it is obvious to everyone we meet that we are God’s people.
Christian values can be displayed in many ways
At Trinity, our mission statement is to provide boys with a thoroughly Christian education in mind, body, and spirit.
A Christian education isn’t just learning about God and the incredible sacrifice he made by sending his one and only son to die for us. Learning this is important, and our Christian Studies classes ensure that every student knows this and has the opportunity to respond to this on a personal level.
However, a Christian education means that this truth is embedded into everything we do at Trinity and is transforming lives.
Mind – the learning that comes from the formal curriculum and the classroom allows students to discover the world around them and hone their skills so they can put them to use and make a difference in the world.
Body – Trinity is full of students who move their bodies. On sports fields, on the stage, across chess boards, through water and in choirs, Cadets and debates. Through this movement, they develop discipline, resilience, healthy habits, and brotherhood through teamwork.
Spirit – At the heart of everything we do at Trinity, is the call to have a humble response to God. In this humility of spirit, our boys are invited to grow as men of character and of hope.
There are many specific opportunities at Trinity that allow boys to learn about and share their Christian faith, including Chapel, Berea Mission, Christian Studies classes and lunchtime Bible groups. But there are millions of ways students can be living out Christian values everyday, in both formal and informal ways:
- Acting with integrity throughout their studies
- Looking out for other students on the playground
- Enjoying God’s creation through Outdoor Education
- Building strong relationships with those around them
- Serving the wider community through different initiatives like Toys ‘n’ Tucker or the Community Service Co-curricular
- Showing great sportsmanship on the field
Another great word comes to us from the book of Colossians where we’re reminded that whatever comes our way each day, we are to live in light of our Christian faith and do everything in the name of Jesus.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Growing good men of character in Christian schools
At Trinity, we believe in the importance of sharing the good news of Jesus with all students, but we also know that each student will make the decision for themselves as to whether they take on this faith in their life. While these Christian values are born from our Christian faith, they are also the marks of a good man of character – regardless of faith.
Character is ‘caught’ in schools in that the school community – staff and students – provide the example, culture, and inspirational influence in a positive ethos that motivates and promotes character development.
Character is ‘taught’ in schools in that the education experiences, inside and outside the classroom, play a role in young people developing an explicit framework of knowledge and understanding to speak meaningfully about character.
Character is ‘sought’ in schools in that character development is held up before the students as a matter of importance.
“If a young man is trustworthy, he will be able to engage in rich and rewarding relationships. If he is decent, equipped with a moral compass that orients him to the service of others and the use of power and responsibility for good, he will make a positive difference in our world. If he is respectful, recognising the value and dignity of others, he will conduct himself in ways that make all of us proud.” – Tim Bowden, Head Master
No matter what year students enter Trinity, they enter as boys and will leave as men who have matured through their education. And it is here – as they enter the wider world – that their good character will be seen for what it is.
Time after time, we hear stories of Trinity Alumni doing wonderful things out in the world, things that are informed by their good character.
Dr Daniel Nour (‘13) is one such example. Founder of StreetSide Medics and 2022 Young Australian of the Year, he is providing vital medical care and lifesaving treatment to those experiencing homelessness, who might otherwise fall through the cracks.
“The School has had a big impact on me as a person. It’s absolutely correct to say that without Trinity, I really question whether Street Side Medics would have happened. It has a great social conscience as a school, and its values rubbed off on me in an inspirational way. It wasn’t about being the biggest and the best, but being as good as you can be to improve society as a whole.”
Dr Nour is not an isolated case of Old Trinitarians doing great things in our local and global community – and they are doing them at all levels. From CEOs of large companies and Olympians, to fathers raising children or those who are only just stepping out of the gates and into tertiary education, Trinity Alumni are taking the Christian values they learnt within the gates of the School and putting them into action for everyone to see.
The school experience at Trinity has never been about gaining a mark; the journey is the fabric of a boy’s life for years to come.
We know that parenting is never straightforward, but that as parents, you are the primary educators of your children. In choosing Trinity, you are choosing a partner in this endeavour. Together, we are a team, investing in the education, character, and development of your son.