This semester we have been reviewing the Foundational Commitments of Veritas Academy. The sixth and last commitment we have at Veritas Academy is Appropriate Forms and Habits: We believe that true education recognizes that hearts and minds are shaped not only by ideas and knowledge, but also by practices, habits, routines, and liturgies. We seek to deliberately develop a culture in the school in which every idea, truth, and concept has its fitting visible expression. We seek not the artificial formality of the arrogant, nor formality for formality’s sake, but rather a wise attention to form that continually favors appropriateness over casual and comfortable complacency. We believe that true education recognizes that hearts and minds are shaped not by ideas and knowledge only, but also by practices, habits, routines, and liturgies.
Our children’s thinking is shaped by what they hear, that is, by what we tell them -the propositions and truths we teach. But their thinking, their worldview, the way they see the world, is also powerfully shaped by what they do –by the rituals, routines and liturgies of their daily lives. We tell them the propositional truth, “Pray and trust God.” And we also practice the routine and habit of praying before meals, during family devotions, and before bed at night. The truth spoken to them and the action practiced with them both imprint their heart and mind to know that prayer is vital. At Veritas we play this out in a myriad of ways. We say that respect for authority is important, so the students stand and greet adults who enter the room. We share the proposition that God’s Word is “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105), and we then have the daily habits of reading the Scriptures, memorizing the Scriptures, reciting the Scriptures, and singing the Scriptures. We teach the truth that all people are made in the image of God and possess God-given dignity and worth, and we daily practice the truth of properly greeting a fellow image-bearer by looking them in the eye, firmly shaking their hand, and speaking to them with kindness and intention. The truths we want them to believe must be framed in appropriate forms and habits. Amen!