Headmaster Letter - A Happy New Year of Learning!
Dear OLMC families,
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
It was delightful to return to school this week and see the faces of our students after our Christmas break. I was reflecting with them at morning prayers on why Christmas vacation seems to pass so quickly. As we visit with relatives and friends, the excitement of the season reflects the kinds of things that we do with one another—activities that are joyful and worth doing for their own sakes. Although it sounds preposterous to most of us, we think about what we do here at OLMC in a very similar way. Whether it is music or math, Latin or literature, we approach our studies here not as a chore, but as something to take delight in learning—for its own sake. In an age preoccupied with credentialing and certifications, it is easy to lose sight of that. But that’s precisely how we think about what we do in each and every classroom every day.
Of course, the paradigmatic act that is worth doing for its own sake is worship. In fact, understood as rendering to God due honor and esteem, worship is not only self-justifying, it justifies everything else that we do. [For the definitive treatment of the subject, be sure to read Josef Pieper’s masterful book, Leisure: The Basis of Culture; also of interest may be Christopher Dawson’s related work, Religion and Culture.] That’s why we begin each day together in prayer, devoting ourselves and our efforts to God and his glory. Not only does that extend to what we do in class, it shapes the way we do it.
As an educator, I can’t help but appreciate the impact this has on our students. Instead of a stressful classroom environment that pressures students with a fear of failure, it creates an atmosphere of joyful inquiry, reminding students that the pursuit of truth is fascinating, no matter what the subject area, and liberating them to investigate the wide range of human understanding with intrepid boldness. Our learning is driven by love (love for what we learn, love for one another, and love for God), and so we proceed without fear of making mistakes—to the contrary, we recognize that we learn from our mistakes and move on to persevere with the confidence that truth is knowable, and that we are made to do it.
Perhaps nothing helps us to appreciate how natural it is for us to take delight in learning so much as music and the arts. Which is not to say that these delightful activities are not hard work. Our students have prepared diligently for their 12th Night Christmas Concert performance! I hope to see you all tonight as our children conclude our celebration of Christ's nativity.
It may be a long time before students accept that school is as much fun as Christmas vacation, but from what I’ve observed here, we are well on our way!
Douglas C. Minson Headmaster