I often feel that school students today have to work through so many more issues compared to when I went to school. When I was at school I was challenged to think through some issues but I also had lots of time to climb the odd tree, kick the odd ball, talk to the girls on the train station and see a good movie. Not only are there many more issues pressing in on our youth, but some pretty heavy issues are up for debate.
In today’s environment almost everything is up for debate
One issue that is now up for debate is what it means to be a good person. Throughout my schooling I was exhorted to be a good person in all that I did. I still remember an older teacher saying that ‘you might not know all the answers to life’s questions, but always keep striving to be a good person’. I think we knew what it meant to be a good person. In today’s environment almost everything is up for debate, even what it means to be a good person.
In the book ‘The Coming of the Body’ (2010) Herve Juvin says: ‘Being a good person these days does not mean curbing the sinful longings of the body, mortifying the weak flesh, following your conscience and preparing through constant prayer for your departure from this life here below; it means living well.’ What does it mean to ‘live well’ ? It seems that some people have decoupled the long held connection between morality and being good.
Obviously we can’t shield our students from the big questions that are being asked. We have to allow our students to consider these views, but that shouldn’t stop us from sticking to what we know and are convinced of. So we will, at our school, still aim to encourage our students to ‘do good’.
We can’t shield our students from the big questions
At our School one of things that hasn’t changed is our desire to build good men. The school even has a program that is run in house groups called ‘Building Good Men’. The program is an important part of the schools formation program. The program recognises the importance of character education. Good character is not formed automatically just by being at a faith based school. It is developed over a period of time and through a number of means – including teaching, modelling and encouragement. This type of character education is based on a Christian world view. This doesn’t mean that the program only benefits students who hold that world view, rather it encourages all students to consider what ‘good men’ look like.
I wonder what you students would answer if they were asked: What does it mean to be a good person?