by Sara Breetzke, TCA Head of School
This week we finished our TCA lunchroom reading for 2016 with the final pages of The Magician’s Nephew, the first book in C.S Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series.
As I finished the last page, students dropped their sandwiches to applaud for Digory and Polly’s happy ending. Afterward, I imagine they ate their last bites with brains full of the stately Aslan, other worlds, and silver apples.
But as I set the book aside to dismiss lunch tables, my mind was full of something much more present: our students.
Do these pre-kindergarten or first grade or fourth grade students understand the depth of this story? Not fully. But stories like this one give them the sense that life is indeed full of good and evil, that obedience and adventure are worth some inconvenience, and that a mighty power loves them more than they can imagine.
I especially hope that the trajectory of the main character, Digory, stays with our students. His story – one of courage, resilience and faithfulness – is one that I hope shapes each TCA student.
Let me explain.
Digory is brave. When Uncle Andrew sends Polly off to another world, Digory is the only one who can rescue her. Digory has no idea what he’ll find when he follows her, but he adventures into the unknown to save his dear friend.
Too often in our information-rich world, we fear acting without knowing the exact consequences. But this reaction can rob us of growth, adventure, and faithfulness to others.
I pray our students have the courage to face the unknown for the sake of their friends and their faith. Like Digory, might they make the honorable choice for a friend. Like Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego, might they say, “our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not …” (Daniel 3:17-18).
Digory changes. Digory is certainly not a character without flaws. In fact, the story’s antagonist, an evil witch, only enters Narnia because of his unrestrained curiosity.
Near the end of the book, Digory must again decide whether to obey a warning or submit to his own curiosity. This time, though, Digory resists. He remembers the wisdom he’d heard, and he obeys.
Like all humans, our students will sometimes choose disobedience, but I pray those moments will not define their stories. Like Digory, I hope that when they sin, they will repent and obey again and again. Like Digory, may our students increasingly choose to follow Truth in the face of temptation and fear.
Digory trusts. What made Digory change? How could he have strength enough to resist the allure of knowledge and power when earlier he had succumbed to those temptations?
Of course, the difference is Aslan. This second time, Digory has met Aslan. He is always the source of change.
After Digory obeys this second warning, he is overcome with fear that he had made the wrong choice. The only security Digory clings to in his doubt is the memory of “the shining tears in Aslan’s eyes[; then] he became sure.”
Like Digory, I pray that when our students must make tough decisions, they will remember the goodness of their God and trust Him. He is the difference. Only as they increasingly know God’s character will they have courage to be brave, the humility to change, and the long-suffering to trust in adversity.