Last week I concluded by saying that it matters whether students know why they are at Geneva. Given that, I conclude with the following:
Therefore, I encourage you (students and parents) to ask yourselves (or remind yourselves) why you are at Geneva. If your answer is the same as it was in Grammar School—that this is what the parents want—then Geneva is probably a miserable place for you. If the answer is like that of some Logic students—“I dunno, my parents want me here”—then Geneva is more like expensive babysitting. In Rhetoric School, students need to want to be here. Geneva can only accomplish its goal if students are willing to be patient with the academic process and diligent in honestly pursuing truth. The payoff for a Geneva education is in the long-term effect it has on students as thinking Christians, not the mere short-term benefit of making students attractive to a college. If a student is not willing to buy into this higher vision, this becomes a sort of really expensive surrogate public school.
In his autobiography Surprised by Joy, C. S. Lewis claims that his greatest time of learning and growth was with a private tutor who challenged him at every turn, never letting him rest, demanding excellence and diligence in every scholastic venture. “The Great Knock,” as Lewis called his tutor, might have been seen by some as a severe taskmaster. Lewis writes, “Some boys would not have liked it; to me it was red beef and strong beer.” For many students, Geneva is already “red beef and strong beer” because they get it and are starting to reap the benefits of vigorous and robust thinking. If you are not there yet, we hope you want to be, but know this: we will never be “canned corn and weak tea”—you can get that anywhere.