by Sara Breetzke, TCA Head of School
I’ve been thinking a lot about narration lately.
As an English teacher, I know the importance of a narrator in a novel. His words give purpose to a character’s life and provide meaning to otherwise senseless events.
On the other hand, an unreliable narrator tells the story from a skewed perspective. He sees the world from a compromised sense of truth – and that changes everything.
In my English classroom right now, I am enjoying A Tale of Two Cities with my students one more time. One of the book’s main characters, Sydney Carton, believes he is an utter failure. Although he is intelligent, handsome, and full of energy, he tells himself, “I shall never be better than I am. I shall sink lower, and be worse.” Indeed, the more he repeats these words to himself, the more it seems his potential will be wasted – all because he is the unreliable narrator of his life.
And so, as I consider the importance of the narrator in our lives, I wonder if you have considered how your child will learn to narrate his life? What words will echo in his head, allowing him to find meaning in his days?
What gives me great hope as I consider this question for students at Trinity Classical Academy is that the classical model of education teaches students to love truth, goodness and beauty. The classical instructor sets before children thought-provoking literature, great moments in history, beautiful artwork, and all the wonders of the natural world. As they observe truth, goodness, and beauty in their studies, students come to love and pursue these ideals in their own story.
Additionally, unlike most modern models of education, classical education gives students a broad view of history from creation until now. As their eyes are opened to God’s big world, children will know His power and learn their role in His rich, unfinished story.
Perhaps most importantly, TCA commits to educating from a Christian worldview, teaching children to know God as the ultimate reliable narrator. This means not only that God is writing the story of the world, but that He is writing your children’s story. He formed them, He calls them, He gives them a new identity, and He authoritatively writes every page of their story for their good and His glory. He is an excellent narrator indeed.
At the end of A Tale of Two Cities, Sydney Carton calls to mind words that he memorized long, long ago but had nearly forgotten: “I am the resurrection and the Life, saith the Lord; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” As Carton allows these words – Jesus’ words – to narrate his life, he is changed and God redeems his story forever.
This is the power of a reliable narrator.
As an educator reading Carton’s story, I am reminded that Truth, memorized in brains and written on hearts – is one of the best gifts we can give our children. Because after all, the most frequent voice a person hears all day is his own. Wouldn’t it be great if increasingly that voice was not our own, weak voice, but that of God, the True and ultimate narrator of our lives?