One of the primary goals of education is to prepare students for college and life. I like to get discussions with people, and this week I asked some faculty about what helps students to really succeed in life. One response I found very interesting was sports. The reason is that through sports, they were able to teach their child about success that comes through overcoming failure. When children develop the courage to compete and do not give up even when their performance is not as good as they hoped, they are being prepared for life. If we look closely at what was described, we discover that it is an education in virtue. The systems required to be successful in athletics teach all kinds of virtues such as perseverance, humility, courage and responsibility to name but a few. Yet, “successful” is a key word in that last sentence, for many who play sports never end up getting an education in virtue. Why? There are many reasons, but consider if, at the moment a child is disappointed because they did not win, someone fails to encourage them but rather excuses them. They end up being educated to fail, and are robbed of hope and confidence. But what about all of the students who are not athletes? Will their education be deficient? Not if we understand the principles that create an education in virtue and incorporate them into our educational systems. This is accomplished through objectives and standards. To do this, we have to understand the mechanisms that form character and incorporate them into our educational systems. What we are talking about is an education that achieves classical results, and hence is truly classical.
When education is not only about the impartation of knowledge, but skills and virtues, it gives children the power to create and to influence the world. Yet, I left out of that sentence the most important part of a Fortis education, that it is Christian. The reason is that our Christian faith and values govern and are integrated into our education at every level. It is our Christian duty to educate our children with excellence so that they reflect the image of God in the world by their power to create and exercise dominion over creation. It is our Christian faith that measures whether virtues align with the heart of God. When they do, we celebrate them regardless of where they are found. When they don’t, our Christian faith dictates how we respond with grace and understanding. Raising children who have hope for the future and confidence to go out into the world and succeed is one the goals of a Fortis education. We want to see our children blessed with a great education so that they can go and be a blessing to the world for the glory of God. In doing so, we believe they will find purpose, significance and satisfaction in life.