Monthly Archives: September 2011

Student Spotlight: “The Favorite Duck Hunt”

One of the great things about sitting in the headmaster’s chair at Regents Academy is that I still get to spend time each day in the classroom. I never want to leave the classroom because I love working with students. One of my classes is the junior and senior Omnibus class. These 10 students are a fantastic group of insightful and hard-working young scholars.

Recently the class completed a brief writing exercise that was an experiment in development through detailed description. They were tasked with choosing an experience in nature and then describing that experience in such a way that their readers shared the feelings they had.

Junior Dylan Richardson wrote about his experience duck hunting when he shot his first mallard. I share it with you here because I enjoyed it so much and was so impressed with it. When Dylan read it to his classmates, they spontaneously applauded, and I am sure you will also.

Undeveloped version:

I waded through a flooded swamp with my four companions. We looked over the tops of the trees for ducks. Behind me I heard a duck’s quack. I turned and leveled my sights on what turned out to be my first mallard.

Detailed account:

It was 9 o’clock in the morning at the duck pond in Alazan Bayou. My four companions and I waded quietly and alertly through the flooded woods around Coon Bayou. The morning air of December was crisp, cold, and still, but filled with the feeling of excitement, drowsiness, and anxiousness that all five of us camo-clad hunters felt. The oaks were leafless and unmoving in the calm of the overcast Saturday morning. We scanned over the tops of the seemingly lifeless trees for the silhouette of ducks against the gray and gloomy clouds. The water around us was black but mirror-like, covered with ice, tree limbs, and duck feathers. The combination of debris and the mirror-like reflection of the trees created a Picasso-style picture on the water’s surface. A calm and slow wind would randomly blow and bring with it a bitter cold that quickly numbed all uncovered parts of our bodies. Casual whistles and quacks of wood ducks and mallards in the distance echoed off the low lingering clouds and taunted us to leave our location. Random gunshots bellowed from the swamp to our south. Almost mockingly, the shots would ring, boasting about the luck of our fellow hunters. We ached from the arduous hike through the chest deep water wearing thick jackets, waders, and gear-filled packs. The sweat created by the workout was freezing to our foreheads. Our metal guns also were frozen to our hands. Suddenly, I heard the beating of wings to my left, accompanied by a long and deep quack. I released the thumb safety on my Mossberg 835, leveled my gun, and began to turn to my left. As I turned I saw the mallard cup its wings and come in for a landing. It created a beautiful image against the oaks and swamp. My heart beat faster as I took final aim and squeezed trigger. Then a flash came from the muzzle and smoke came out of the ports in the barrel. I didn’t even hear the bang; my ears just began to ring. I lowered the end of my gun to see my first mallard floating spread eagle and lifeless on the surface of the water.

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What Is an Adverb?

The 2nd grade class recite the Adverb Chant from Shurley Grammar in the Youtube video below. Thanks to their teacher, Mrs. Lori Cunyus for the video.

Great job, students!

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Yearbook Signing Party

The 2010-2011 yearbooks are in!

Students and teachers gathered for a Yearbook Signing Party last Friday, September 9.

Many thank to Mrs. Jennifer DeKerlegand for organizing and laying out the Regents yearbook and to the many parents and teachers who contributed pictures.

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Loving the Standard

Here’s a thought experiment. Imagine that you require careful obedience from your children from the time they are very small. You emphasize first-time obedience and discipline for disobedience. You require your children to obey you both in private and in public, and you send them to a school that also emphasizes obedience. Yet, imagine that when your children turn 18 and leave home, they do so resenting you and immediately rebel against the standards of obedience you required of them as children.

It’s a terrible scenario, but one that is all too familiar. What’s missing?

The missing ingredient when children rebel is a heart that loves the standard. It’s not enough to require obedience from our children. Outward obedience is the essential baseline. Our children must indeed do what we require of them, in the way that we require them to do it – in other words, they must submit to our standard for them. God has granted us authority over our children. But mere obedience is not enough. Our children must obey because they love the standard, not merely because they are submitting to people who are bigger and smarter than they are.

Cultivating a love for the standard is how God the Father nurtures obedience in His children. In Deuteronomy 5 the Lord reiterated the Ten Commandments to His people. These were the Ten Commandments, not the Ten Suggestions. He required His people to obey them (and He still does). But then in Deuteronomy 6:6, God said, “And these words I command you today shall be in your heart.” In other words, God was calling for Israel to love the standard, not merely to go through the motions of doing what He said. Psalm 119 is a chapter-long expression of the psalmist’s love for the standard of God’s Word. “I will delight myself in your commands, which I love.” The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver.” “Oh how I love your law!” (vv. 47, 72, 97). God made commands, and then the psalmist internalized those commands and made them his own. They became his internal compass by which to navigate life.

What this means is that we must not only require visible obedience from our children, but we must go after their hearts. We must cultivate a heart of obedience in them by addressing the root issues of disobedience, by loving them with compassion and mercy, and by training them to internalize our commands. We must build the relationship and never do anything that tears down the tender ties of that relationship so that they will be drawn to us and the standards we are sharing with them. Together, we are all (adults and children alike) under the same ultimate standard – that of loving the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our strength.

This is the model of obedience that we are striving after at Regents Academy. Teachers and administrators strive to love God’s standard in His Word, and then we share that standard with our students so that they will love the standard also. Together this is how we glorify God in our obedience.

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Yet Another Contrast

Here is yet another contrast between two views of man.

If the first statement is true, would the nurture and education of our children have a real purpose? If the latter is true, would anything else matter?

“The plight of man is pitiable. We are wanderers in a vast universe, helpless before the devastations of nature, dependent upon nature for food and other necessities, and uninformed about why we were born and what we should strive for. Man is alone in a cold and alien universe. He gazes upon this mysterious, rapidly changing, and endless universe and is confused, baffled, and even frightened by his own insignificance.” Morris Kline, 20th C. mathematician and historian

“In the infinite wisdom of the Lord of all the earth, each event falls with exact precision into its proper place in the unfolding of His divine plan. Nothing, however small, however strange, occurs without His ordering, or without its particular fitness for its place in the working out of His purpose; and the end of all shall be the manifestation of His glory, and the accumulation of His praise. This is the Old Testament (as well as the New Testament) philosophy of the universe — a world view which attains concrete unity in an absolute decree, or Purpose, or plan, of which all that comes to pass is but its development in time.” Benjamin B. Warfield, 20th C. theologian

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Cosmic Hiccup or Crown?

It matters a great deal how we answer this question: What is man?

Is humanity merely a cosmic hiccup, the result of random forces with no real purpose or destination? Or is man a special being created in the image of God for a unique purpose in the world?

The dividing line between these two views is displayed sharply in the following two quotes:

“The universe has turned its face against man; it was bored with him and man will eventually die out like the dinosaurs and be forgotten.” H.G. Wells, author and historian (20th century)

“What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet.” Psalm 8:4-6

Adopting either view has enormous implications — for oneself, for the family, for society and public policy, and for education.

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