Tag Archives: Christian Living

Whatever Happened to Manners & Morals?

Dear Annapolis Friends and Families (and any other featherless bipeds who happen to read this weekly letter),
Yesterday in chapel, Mr. Lockyer, Annapolis’ Grammar School Principal, publicly praised the actions of a third-grade student, Brody Williamson, who regularly helps a younger student out by carrying his fencing equipment to and from the dance studio where the two engage in all manner of dangerous swashbuckling endeavors after school. I was truly encouraged by Brody’s example of selflessness and service and was reminded afresh that kids these days aren’t all bad! Thank you, Brody, for restoring my hope in humanity’s future!
Though a small kindness, Brody’s action illustrates a BIG part of Annapolis’ mission: the restoration of respect for good ol’ fashioned manners and morals.
Admittedly, we are swimming upstream in our current culture of casual crudeness. It’s no secret that good manners and virtuous morals are decreasingly important to our society and that coarseness, rudeness, moral relativism, corruption, and depravity rule the day. For those who care, this trend is deeply concerning as it signals the onset of a new dark age of barbarism that threatens to engulf us completely. But what can be done to restore respect for things and people? How can Annapolis encourage thoughtful manners and virtuous character in our students and staff?

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Soli Deo Gloria

The year was 1695.  It was midnight.  There were no street lights or electricity.  It was pitch black in the house.  A ten-year-old boy is tiptoeing down the stairs with only a candle to light his way.  He shields the light with his hand to keep the light from spilling all over and waking up the adults.  He slowly opens the door to the study, knowing if he pushes too fast, the hinges will squeak and his adventure will be found out.  He has a burning passion for music but he has been told that the music used for the church is too valuable to be used by children.  He squeezes his arm through an opening in the lattice and he rolls up a piece of organ music and pulls it out.  He spends the rest of the night copying the music on another piece of paper, all by candlelight.  He cannot wait to play this music the next day.  

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An Alternate Function for Technology

As “there are no small things”[1] we are told to “work heartily, as for the Lord” (Col. 3:23), something as simple as making your bed[2] can do wonders for your happiness and health, and carefulness is a virtue, according to Aristotle, then paying attention to details and concentrating on bettering seemingly unimportant small skills is important for the overall well-being, success, and fulfillment of a student.  Thus, the insistence when a teacher makes you put your heading in the correct corner with each piece of information, or makes you use graph paper for math, or makes you re-do an answer that she cannot read—are all examples of an effort to help a student realize the importance of being careful with details.

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The Games We Play

The sermon uses the metaphor of games for resource allocation and human cooperation to help understand the story of the creation of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in Genesis 2.  Students were challenged to ask themselves about the goals of the various games they play in life (family, school, religious, etc) and whether or not the strategies they employ will lead them to desirable outcomes.  The standard is God’s claim that the world is a better place with humanity than without it (Genesis 1:26-31). Are you handling your life in a way that allows you to assess it the way God originally assessed man’s presence in his creation?

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Your Only Comfort

If you were to ask people around here two weeks ago, what would you be doing on Labor Day? What would the answer be? Hanging out by the beach perhaps. Mow the grass. Grilling out. Lounging around. What if you would have asked people in Houston, Rockport or Port Aransas or any of those surrounding areas two weeks ago, and ask them what would they be doing on Labor Day? Then asked them today, what they actually did this last weekend, you would have had totally different answers.  I think this shows how we all get really comfortable with our lives, and the day to day routine of going to school, coming home, and relaxing on the weekends.  We are pretty happy with how things are going.  Then all of a sudden, everything we know is threatened.

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Blessed (Part 1)

The book of Psalms is a beautiful but extremely honest look at life. The very first word in this book is “blessed” and Psalm 1 sets up the whole book by talking about how you can live a blessed life.  The word “blessed” itself means either set apart as holy, like when I say Jesus our “blessed” savior, but it can also mean extremely happy like I am so blessed today.  The question that I want to ask today is, what do you think makes you happy, I mean really happy?  Last week was on Matthew 6:33 and keeping first things first and second things second and my own struggle with this.  God created us to want to be happy but we have to live life His way.  He made us to enjoy life not only now but forever.  The problem is that sin deceives and tricks us into believing that things in this world will bring about the great happiness that we all want.      

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Addition By Subtraction

I wasn’t born in Nebraska. My dad was in the Air Force so we moved around a lot when I was young but we finally settled in Nebraska and I consider it home.  I started attending a public school until my dad made the decision to quit his job and become a Christian school teacher.  I joined the school a year later as a student.  The school was not like Annapolis but I appreciated being taught in a Christian environment.  I participated in junior high band and enjoyed choir.  I acted in One Act and in one of the school plays, Anne of Green Gables.  I was in the pivotal role as “farmhand #2”.  I also played sports.  The sport I excelled in the most was volleyball.  My dad was the assistant girls’ volleyball coach and he was my ride home so, out of boredom, I began playing volleyball.  After high school, I went to a Christian college where I played college volleyball and got a teaching degree.  My first teaching job after graduation was back in Nebraska, where I spent the last 20 years in education.

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My Wish for You – A Farewell from Mrs. Pat Kinner

As we end the school year with our final chapel today, I want to take the time to share from my heart what my prayers and wishes will be for each of you as I retire this summer.  I am stepping down after being involved in various roles at the school for over 20 years—the last 6 as principal.  It seems only fitting that I take this last opportunity to speak to you in my final chapel talk today and address you as a student body and as individuals who I have come to know and love.

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Intellectual Humility : Part 2

In our Easter chapel service, we talked about how Jesus Christ is the perfect example of intellectual character and virtue. We have been talking about the following intellectual character traits all semester:

  • Intellectual courage, which helps you to find the truth and live out that truth.
  • Intellectual honesty is how we use the truth we know. It is the link that goes from our thinking to our actions.
  • Intellectual tenacity is the character of being very determined and persistent in seeking truth and knowledge.
  • Intellectual carefulness involves being patient, diligent, and careful in the search for truth and knowledge.
  • Intellectual humility is seen in those who want to know the truth, and therefore constantly recognize that they, like all people, are sinful and capable of error.

As we continue to talk about humility, let’s look at Proverbs 11:2 which says: “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Continue reading