For over two decades now, Trinity has had a tradition of reading together as a school community, especially over the summer.
Our books have been of different sorts across these years:
- Some have been living books of the imagination, to help us all experience the kind of education we are wanting to offer our children (Hans Christian Andersen’s tales, George MacDonald’s The Princess and the Goblin).
- Some have rooted us all more deeply in the Christian mission of the school (the Gospel of Mark, last summer’s Amos, The Jesus Storybook Bible).
- Some have explored the classical heritage that informs Trinity’s mission (Tolstoy’s “Two Old Men,” Handel’s Messiah, Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress).
- And some have helped the Trinity community, especially our Trinity parents, understand more deeply the mission of the school and how it impacts the way we do school at Trinity: Wendy Mogel’s The Blessing of a Skinned Knee, Ken Myers’ All God’s Children and Blue Suede Shoes, and Andy Crouch’s The Tech-Wise Family.
This year we return to that last sort of book, one that will help our parents and others take a deeper dive into the distinctive mission of Trinity.
Our book is Susan Schaeffer Macaulay’s For the Children’s Sake.
I first read this book the year that Trinity was founded. It was one of my early introductions to the educational philosophy and methods of Charlotte Mason, and in bringing it to the Trinity community this summer, we are giving everyone a chance to soak in Mason’s approach. When you hear the words “rich yet unhurried” in our mission statement, you are hearing strong resonances of this pedagogy. It’s especially impactful for our Lower School, but increasingly we are talking about how the broader principles of Mason’s educational views shape and form our Middle and Upper Schools as well.
Besides introducing our parents to Charlotte Mason, this book will introduce us to a family and a story that we should know. The author, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, is the daughter of Edith and Francis Schaeffer, the founders of L’Abri ministries. The culture and story of L’Abri seep into this book, and I would love for everyone to know more about these stories. Several of the founders of Trinity were impacted deeply by the Schaeffers (of which I was one, first cutting my theological teeth on several of Francis Schaeffer’s books in college).
First published in 1984, Macaulay’s account of her family’s quest for excellence in education is now a period piece, and it will feel a little outdated to many of us. But part of a classical education is visiting places and times that we haven’t inhabited—it’s a diversity of a sort we don’t always talk about. And I think you’ll find that even across the distance of decades, there is still much that rings true, good, and beautiful in the vision of education that she sets forth.
To help us all read this together, we plan to put together some practical ways that families who read this book can follow along and learn together. And when we return in the fall, we look forward to gathering parents together to talk about this vision for education and how we can live into this as a school community.
So here’s to some good reading over this summer.
Head of School
For the summer of 2020, our Trinity Reads selection will be the biblical book of Amos. Please join us in reading this classic prophetic book.
Why Amos? Two summers ago we read the Gospel of Mark together, and it was a great way for us all to dive into the scriptures. This summer, as we emerge gradually from our COVID isolation and find ourselves in a world on fire with cries for justice, it seems appropriate to go to one of the classic prophetic words from God to a people struggling with injustice and idolatry. It might seem counterintuitive to turn to the roar of God’s righteousness in a time when we feel like we need comfort and relief, but our conviction at Trinity is that the judgment of God is safer than the kindness of any idolatry.
Dr. Denton has invited Trinity parent and Old Testament professor Brent Strawn to join him for a series of short conversations and communications each week to help us as we make our way through this book. Dr. Strawn writes, “Amos is one of my top five favorite books, and I recently accepted a contract to write a commentary on the book for a series devoted to justice matters. In my view, Amos is so crucial, as it is really the quintessential biblical statement of the judgment of God. We can’t have a functioning biblical lexicon without working through that issue.”
Reading the prophets with young children is an interesting challenge. We will talk more about this in coming weeks, but here is a short doodle from the Bible Project that might be a good introduction for children (and their parents, too). Let's all join in reading along, one chapter per week. Families may want to read this book together out loud.
Every summer Trinity embarks on a community reading program called Trinity Reads.
It’s not summer.
But it is a time to read. Together. As a Trinity community. Won’t you join us?
COVID-19 has disrupted our lives in so many ways, narrowed and shrunk our worlds, and limited our options: We’ll all be staying home more in the days ahead. So here is a way to get out without risking infection, to expand our horizons without breaking any bans, and to travel far without leaving home. Indeed,
To take us Lands away;
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry...
– Emily Dickinson
- Chapter 1
- Chapter 2
- Chapter 3
- Chapters 4 & 5
- Chapters 6 & 7
- Chapters 8 & 9
- Chapters 10 & 11
- Chapters 12 & 13
- Chapters 14 & 15
- Chapters 16 & 17
- Chapters 18 & 19
- Chapters 20 & 21
- Chapter 22
- Chapter 23
Thursday, March 26
Chapter 1: “Playing Pilgrims” (10 pages in my edition)
Each of the sisters is different, and the first chapter is a masterful introduction of these four March sisters. Our author, Louisa May Alcott, parades them all four (usually in birth order) across the stage over and over through their conversation and actions, painting vivid pictures of each one of them. Here are some questions for reflection—if you’re really ambitious, you might make a chart of the four sisters:
What does each girl want to purchase with her money?
What is particularly hard in each girl’s life?
What is each one’s Christmas idea?
What does each one look like?
Recap of Chapter 1:
What did you learn about the four sisters in Chapter 1?