By Agape Christi Board Member Chrissy Evans
She spoke before the House Committee at the Capitol this week. My eleven year old daughter, Grace, spoke Truth to the Minnesota Legislature. Regarding the proposed redefinition of marriage law, which would leave children of such unions without either a mother or a father, she left them with these words, “Which parent do I not need, my mother or my father?” Silence. Again, “Which parent do I not need?” This powerful statement made by a poised young lady was widely covered by both local and national news.
On the phone with her afterwards, I asked my first born baby if she was really nervous. I was glad to not have been there — glad this brave girl went with her brave father to stand before the legislature. She responded with, “Not really. I knew I could do it because of the Speech Meet at school [a classical Christian school].” Each fall the students present before the school, a poem or famous speech. This is not given before a small classroom, but in an auditorium filled with six grades and many guests. The boys stand tall, wearing their ties and sport coats; the girls adorn their blouses and pleated jumpers. They look like ladies and gentlemen, and they act like it. They speak well, with emotion and rhythm. Loud and clear, poised and articulate, from the littlest kindergartener to the tallest fifth grader, I am proud of each one. As for my Grace, this speaking in front of the multitudes was something learned.
I remember her first Speech Meet in fourth grade, after our move from out of state. After weeks of practicing, she stepped up to the podium, looked out and … kept looking out. Tears swelled, and she couldn’t speak! Her kind teacher had her sit down and try again a few students later. This time, though fearful, she did it. The next year, she did it with no problem. Later that summer she spoke before churches full of people at both a memorial service and a funeral. Each time reminding herself, “I can do it. I’ve done it at school.”
Isn’t this how we want our schools to equip our children? We believe this is a hallmark of classical Christian education: teaching our kids to love the Truth (which is a sword), equipping them with how to handle it, and then watching them use it for the glory of God. We want them to take dominion in this world, willing to stand before kings (or legislatures), like Esther and Daniel. This is far different than giving students a Christian foundation at home and then hoping they simply survive their public school education without rejecting their faith. Rather, this is an education that equips students by giving them the tools: teaching them facts and story, but also how to reason, how to write, how to speak, how to impart and all of this is really how to love a world that needs to be redeemed.
At Agape Christi, our very name was chosen to remind us that Truth and Grace go together. Truth without grace ceases to be true and winsome, but a clanging cymbal. Grace without Truth ceases to be a grace to someone, but rather a lie. We want our students to be equipped to proclaim the Truth in the love of Christ. Agape Christi… Christ’s love- it isn’t soft and ignorant. It is wisely bold and kind. It is full of Grace and Truth.