We advocate that character is built in all venues and arenas. We reject the notion… that the classroom makes no contribution to character development.
Ten years after the Battle of Waterloo, while watching a cricket match at Eton, the Duke of Wellington was overheard to say: ‘The Battle of Waterloo was won here’. Of course, the man who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo did not literally mean that old scholars from Eton College actually had won the battle. He meant merely that the games and sports at British colleges developed qualities in men that made them good soldiers. This original utterance was polished up and made famous as, ‘The Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton’.
Christian character is our business at Calvin.
We advocate that character is built in all venues and arenas. We reject the notion implicit in the Duke’s statement that the classroom makes no contribution to character development.
Our approach is holistic. We desire and plan to focus on the whole child: body, soul and spirit. Thus, our academic and co-curricular activities in their entirety make a direct contribution to building character. The ideal involvement by a student is a holistic one. It is ideal that students become involved in classrooms, sporting fields activities (for both their house and school), academic extension activities, debating, chess, service programs, and other initiatives. We are multifaceted people and the involvement in a broad range of initiatives is critical to develop our full persona and attributes. Jim Dailey writes that
"[t]he fires of trial not only test our faith but also refine our character. Scripture is clear that we are never exempt or pre-empted from that. There is no such thing as a victory without a battle. Often people dream of “the victorious life” as being some secret that we arrive at by so completely mastering every circumstance that there are no longer such things as trials. That simply isn’t true.”
This is a point that I am regularly making as I write on the reports of every student in Year 4 to Year 12. The battle is a test of commitment, and our response is a method of developing character. It does not matter in which arenas we experience trials. It matters that we experience as many trials as possible. These learning opportunities build our emotional resolve, resilience and ability to problem solve, and assist in our understanding the reality that our future lies beyond our comfort zone.
Providing the opportunity to build Christian character is the vital purpose to the construction of the curriculum and co-curricular program at Calvin. Involvement is wonderful. Improvement in maturity, skill and temperament is precious.
The most recent contribution to personal growth at Calvin in this regard is a systemic emphasis on setting goals. All students in the secondary school consciously set academic goals in the first few weeks of Term One. Students in the primary school set an expectation through the adoption of the goal, ‘Attitude Matters’. These aspirational targets recruit the best of use. Generally, they enable us to discover and/or fashion better parts of our nature than we knew existed.
The feedback at the conclusion of this semester will no doubt present challenges. The act of setting goals and determining the approach to achieve them is the necessary element to foster the development of Christian character.
Everyone in the school is likely to find some Waterloo moment in their reports. It is an opportunity to grow Christian character.
Iain Belôt - Principal