In 1768 a 45-year old Scottish preacher took charge of a tiny, poor, rural school for teenage boys. He found the boys to be unprepared and unruly and the conditions of the school's only building to be deplorable. Because there were so few students, the preacher had to do all of the teaching himself until he was able to convince some tutors to help him. Yet, in faithfully mentoring his few charges, this preacher started down a path that changed the world. 

The preacher's name was John Witherspoon. The small, dilapidated school he took charge of is now Princeton University. And what happened to the 450 students he trained during his 26 years as college president is one of the most astounding facts in American history:

  • 114 became ministers
  • 49 became U.S. Representatives
  • 28 became U.S. Senators
  • 26 became state judges
  • 17 became members of their state constitutional conventions
  • 14 became delegates to the state conventions that ratified the Constitution
  • 12 became members of the Continental Congress
  • 8 became U.S. district judges
  • 5 became delegates to the Constitutional Convention
  • 3 became U.S. Supremem Court Justices
  • 3 became Attourney Generals
  • 2 became foreign ministers
  • 1 became Secretary of State
  • Aaron Burr, Jr. became Vice-President
  • James Madison became President

The above section was taken out of our staff development curriculum Cultivate written by Jeff Myers. Myers assement of Witherspoon's influence on the United States through the young men he educated doesn't revolve around curriculum, financial opportunity or even leadership gifts. Myers comments that these influential young men were impacted by Witherspoon's investment in their everyday lives.

The video above is a service called Covenant Eyes, many faculty at Hillcrest have elected to imploy it their homes. The service monitors screens able to connect to the internet. It enables parents to speak frankly about the digital world and it's impact on our students. 

Many times parents and adults feel handicapped to understand what is truly occurring on the screens their students interact with daily. Covenant Eyes is a postive solution which can lead to meaningful conversations.

Knowing many times addressing technology can lead to conflict with our students, I turn to Scott Cormode, commentator in The Fuller Youth Institutes book Sticky Faith, who encourages parents to work for understanding rather than arguement. Cormode notes a quote by President Abraham Lincoln where he is reported to have said, "When I am getting ready to reason with a man, I spend one-third of my time thinking about myself and what I am going to say and two-thirds about him and what he is going to say." Lincoln desired to have a posture of understanding, even before meeting with a person.

Cormode recommends responding to concerns and frustrations as neutrally as possible, making statements like, "I really want to make sure I understand you on your terms. I think what you are saying is..." summarizing that person's words without interpretation for greater understanding. Cormode encourages parents and youth leaders to then ask, "is that right" after summarizing the student's comments. The goal is to understand the individual, and ultimately to encourage the student that it your goal to understand them.

Covenant Eyes has been a support for many families at Hillcrest, helping our faculty and staff address their children from a point of ministering to their heart rather than working to merely change their behavior.  

Comment