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A Call to Teenagers to Be Free

Recently I shared an article with the 7th-12th grade Regents boys that I thought was particularly impactful. In “A Call to Teenagers to Be Free” John Piper exhorts teenagers to be free from the slavery of culture-conformity and instead strive to live a radical life of devotion to Christ. I would urge all parents to read the article and talk about it with their children. Here is an excerpt that will give you a taste. If our teenagers embrace what Piper says, it will change their lives – and ours.

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I am writing for the liberation of teenagers. I write to challenge teenagers to “live as people who are free” (1 Peter 2:16). Be wise and strong and free from the slavery of culture-conformity. To put it another way, I am calling teenagers to a radical, wartime lifestyle.

The Creation of “Teenagers”

As teenagers, you should know that the idea of “teenagers” was created only seventy years ago. The word “teenager” did not exist before World War II. Between children and adults, there was no such category of human being. You were a child. Then you were a young adult.

Just a hundred years ago, you would bear crucial responsibility at age thirteen on the farm or in dad’s business, or mom’s kitchen and weaving room. You would be trained for gainful employment, or domestic enterprise, by age seventeen, and would marry before you were twenty, and be a responsible husband and father, or wife and mother, by your early twenties.

This scenario is perhaps hard for you to imagine. And I am not saying we can go back to that era, or should want to. My aim is that you be liberated by the truth. The truth will set you free. The truth that you do not have to fit into the contemporary lockstep expectations put on you by your culture or your peers.

Very few teenagers have an awareness of history. That ignorance leads to a kind of slavery. Most teenagers are slaves of the expectations of their peers and of the big industries that market their fashion and music and technology and entertainment.

This slavery is so pleasant and so consistently rewarded that the possibility of being free from conformity to teen-culture rarely enters your mind. Being aware from history that other possibilities exist can set you free for radical “wartime living” in the name of Jesus.

What “Teenager” Meant Seventy Years Ago

In 1944, when “teen-age” was still hyphenated, Life magazine covered the new teen phenomenon. The article said,

There is a time in the life of every American girl when the most important thing in the world is to be one of a crowd of other girls and to act and speak and dress exactly as they do. This is the teen age.

This was not a very enviable beginning for the meaning of “teenager.” Things have not changed much in sixty years. A teenager wrote to my hometown newspaper:

Most of my friends often are not comfortable with what is popular, but we wear it anyway. Standing out is just not always worth the struggle. Society tells us to be different, yet mainstream.

How do you dress to please yourself, your parents, and your peers? You can’t. Teens end up compromising their values to fit in. If we intend to make it through high school, or even junior high, without being tormented, then we must dress to please our peers.

We are the up-and-coming leaders of this nation, and we must see what we have become and change. (Minneapolis StarTribune, November 16, 2002: A23).

It is not easy to be a Christian teenager. You desperately want to be liked. To be rejected by friends can feel devastating. But just like this young woman, you know deep down that living to be liked is slavery. And if you belong to Jesus, that slavery may be a torment worse than rejection.

What Does It Mean to Be Cool?

For many, being cool is everything. But what is cool? Is it really which phone you have? Or what movies you’ve seen? Or how strong or fast or handsome you are? Or the way your hair falls and your figure is shaped? You are not stupid. You know that living for such things is superficial and meaningless. [. . .]

Don’t be part of the blind, teenage masses who do not know what is going on. They think that to know the latest movie or iPhone app or hit song is to know what is going on. Those things are like cut flowers. Bright today, tossed out tomorrow. They are utterly insignificant compared to events that are shaping the course of eternity.

What is really going on is that people and nations are being enslaved by Satan or liberated by Christ. And Christ fights his liberating warfare through Christians, including teenage Christians.

But not through teenagers who are amusing themselves to death. The average teenager is so wrapped up in himself, and how he looks, and whether anyone likes him, that he makes a poor soldier. One of the great marks of the soldier in wartime is that personal comforts give way to the strategic mission. Soldiers may play cards the night before the battle, but when the trumpet sounds they lay down their lives.


Courage, Character, and Leadership for Life

 April 12-13, 2018

  • A program jointly sponsored by Regents Academy and The Protectors, the only faith-based organization of its kind helping Christian schools resist bullying. Focused on ways to improve our school’s culture and together provide a Christ-centered environment for our children.
  • Featuring Paul Coughlin, best-selling author and founder of The Protectors.
  • Practical, effective, and powerful ways for students, parents, and teachers to work together to combat a growing problem.
  • Strategies for making our school an oasis of love and safety by spreading God’s love, mercy, and justice, and encouraging our children to grow in courage, faith, and character.

Schedule

Thursday, April 12: Parent/Community Meeting, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.

At Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church (next door to Regents Academy)

90 minute presentation including Q & A – Question time could go longer

Friday, April 13: Student Presentations

At Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church

Grades 2 – 7, 10:35-11:20 a.m. 45 minute presentation including Q & A

Grades 8 – 12, 12:55 – 1:50 p.m. 55 minute presentation including Q & A

 

Parents are invited to all meetings.

Please feel free to invite neighbors and friends who are not part of the Regents community.

Contact the Regents Academy school office with questions or for more info (936) 559-7343.


On Boys, Danger, and Dragons

This week I’m sharing some wise words from a good friend: Mr. Ron Gilley, Headmaster of Trinitas Christian School in Pensacola, Florida. I hope you enjoy his article “On Boys, Danger, and Dragons,” but I hope you also find it challenging and edifying.

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There is something in a boy that loves danger. That love frequently manifests itself in ways that polite society does not approve of, so we often squash it thinking we have done the boy a good turn, saved him some trouble down the road. What we ought to do instead is help him order his love of everything else to its proper place so that his love of danger becomes bravery in the face of evil, or even just resolve and determination in the face of the difficulties of life for the good of the kingdom of God. Unfortunately, though, our tendency is to squash and emasculate. And where has that gotten us? What has become of masculinity? Whatever happened to killing the dragon and getting the girl? Our boys and men are wilting in the face of dragons while the girls are girding on their armor for the fight. Backwards? Uh, yeah.

I don’t claim to be the model for masculinity, or even a good man for that matter; furthermore, I don’t mean to suggest that recaptured masculinity is the answer to all of society’s problems or that girls shouldn’t be part of the fight. I do mean to say that if we men will man up and teach our boys to do the same, we will be working with the grain of creation; we will be helping to establish the Kingdom on earth, and that is what we’re here for after all.

When I was a kid, from the ripe old age of about seven, I spent my Saturdays and summer days in the woods hunting snakes. Armed with BB guns or bows and arrows or homemade spears, my brother and I searched high and low for snakes to slay, not your run of the mill green and black snakes that were good for catching and putting in terrariums, but the dangerous ones, rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, copperheads: they were dragons for us. Our motive was pretty simple: rid the world of these evil scourges. These were (are) dangerous snakes that slithered from place to place looking to ambush good people going about their business in the world. Sound familiar? It should. It is reminiscent of the language from 1 Peter 5:8 describing Satan: “Your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” I wasn’t thinking that far ahead at the time, but I was practicing what came natural to me, what God had put in me when he created me, a male.

Our problem is twofold really: first, we often squash a young boy’s flirtation with danger; and second, we don’t do a great job of teaching him what to love and what to hate. When he is away from us then out from under the protection of mom’s apron, he will usually choose one of two paths: 1) live in fear of evil because he has never been allowed to practice being dangerous to it; or 2) have his danger anyway, but then it will be in the wrong form because he does not know really what he ought to be dangerous to.

To answer the first problem, let your boys do dangerous things that are appropriate for their age, size, and experience. Let them jump off the bed, climb trees, shoot cans with a slingshot, sword fight with sticks, wrestle with other boys, box with other boys, explore the woods by themselves or with friends, jump in the deep end of the pool, take out the garbage in the dark, camp in the dark, camp alone, shoot bows and arrows, shoot guns, hunt for food, bleed without making a fuss, fail, fail again, and fail again.

To answer the second problem, teach your boys to hate relativism and the idea that truth is in the eye of the beholder. Teach them that there is one God, one truth, and that He is Love. Teach them (and train them by doing it yourself and leading them in it) to love what God loves and to hate what God hates. Teach them to hate lying, stealing, unfaithfulness, pride, idolatry, selfishness, the lack of self control in other men. Oh, the world will tell your boys all these things are right and good in the proper context. You had better be on your guard and actively teaching them what to love because I can assure the world is already teaching them what it wants them to love. The snake is lurking, waiting to ambush them on billboards, television, radio, social media, college, friends, girlfriends, toys, video games, shopping malls, music, sports, pop culture, you name it. The work is already being done and your boy is the target. The snake is crafty and more cunning that any other beast upon the earth. He is also the roaring lion; he is the dragon. And if you don’t teach your boy to recognize him, he will take your boy’s natural love for danger and put it to work for the wrong kingdom, the kingdom of darkness before you know what has happened.

When we pray as our Lord taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come. / Your will be done / On earth as it is in heaven,” we are praying for the Kingdom to actually come on earth, and we are real participants in bringing that to pass right here in Pensacola, Florida, USA, Earth. God gives us the great privilege of participating, and our boys should play a huge role in that, folks, so we better make them ready. God created them to love danger just a little bit. It is our job to teach them what they should be dangerous to and then turn them loose to do it. If we abdicate, Satan will take over. He will teach them using all his subtleties just what he wants them to be dangerous to, or he will watch as we emasculate them ourselves so they aren’t dangerous at all. We may as well pull our own houses down our heads.


DAR American History 5th grade Essay Winner

Regents Academy is proud of 5th grader Benjamin Satir, son of Dr. Cengiz and Dr. Vicki Satir, who won the fifth grade division of this year’s American History essay contest sponsored by the Nacogdoches Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The theme of this year’s essay contest was “World War I: Remembering the War to End All Wars.” Pictured with Ben are headmaster David Bryant and his fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Lori Cunyus.

Congratulations, Ben!

Repairing the Ruins Conference 2018

What are your summer plans? I have a great idea for you, Regents parents. Come with us to the ACCS 2018 Repairing the Ruins Conference.

The Association of Classical and Christian Schools 2018 annual conference is in Frisco (near Dallas) this year. Most of our teachers, staff, and board will be attending the conference on June 21-23. The conference truly is an amazing experience for teachers, administrators, board members — and parents alike. You’ll catch the classical vision from inspiring and profoundly insightful speakers, connect with other parents and teachers, and learn more than you’d ever thought you could know about classical Christian education. At the conference you really get the sense that we are part of a movement that God is bringing about to renew and redeem education.

Please go to 2018.repairingtheruins.org to learn more and to register. Repairing the Ruins will be an investment in your children’s education and well worth your time and money.


VFW Patriot’s Pen Essay Contest Winners

Congratulations to Regents Academy for sweeping this year’s Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Patriot’s Pen essay contest once again.

VFW Post #3893 Commander Don Kirkley presented plaques and checks to this year’s winners, who wrote essays celebrating “America’s Gift to My Generation.” Winning first place for her essay was 8th grader Sydney Cunyus, daughter of Michael and Lori Cunyus. Placing second was 8th grader Isabella Baker, daughter of Dr. Richard and Cherry Baker. Placing third was 7th grader Karys Alders, daughter of David and Nicole Alders.
Pictured (from left) are Isabella Baker, Don Kirkley, Sydney Cunyus, and Karys Alders.