Head of School, Leanne Reynolds, shared this letter with the ROBS community on March 19, 2019 following the college admission scandal and terrorist attack in New Zealand.
Dear ROBS families,
I hope that you all had a great Spring Break. It is so fun for me to follow you on social media because I get to see you live your lives as a family. Whether you had a staycation or a vacation, it is obvious from your posts that you enjoyed your time, and that makes me smile.
Like all of you, I came home from my vacation to some disturbing news. Particularly, the recent news of parents allegedly committing several criminal acts to ensure admission of their children to highly selective colleges and universities. Most know that the college admission process is flawed, and if nothing else, maybe this scandal will be the impetus for change. But what about the actions of the parents? When did parents acting illegally become something that doesn’t surprise us? When did getting into the “right” school become important enough for parents to cheat, lie, and steal to make it happen?
I was asked the question, “What should we be doing in our own school communities about ethics and morality?” I think we are in a unique position as a community of faith to have the courage to stand for what is right and to articulate acceptable behavior within our own school community. We have an opportunity to do things differently at ROBS. We can hold our values dear and be courageous when they are challenged. We need to be strong partners – school and parents – so that we send consistent and aligned messages to children, including that academics are important; however, it is character and faith that matter most.
This leads me to the next troubling news I heard over the break—the horrific terrorist attack in New Zealand. While this news is awful, it would be worse to allow a moment like this to pass without educating our children about inclusivity, kindness, and tolerance. We must teach them to think differently, to embrace differences, to challenge those that speak hate, and to use their gifts to make the world a better place.
Our mission at ROBS is to educate children to lead tomorrow’s world; I am incredibly hopeful that our students will lead a more caring, kind, accepting, and understanding world. But the only way that will happen is if we take teaching kindness, compassion, empathy, and love as seriously as we take teaching academics. We don’t teach math, science, English, etc.; we teach children. And at ROBS, we take time for character development, we take time to understand Christian principles, we take time to care for one another, and we do so because we know that intellect alone is not enough. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”
Let’s not allow these two disturbing current events go by unmet by us.
As parents, we have the opportunity to allow our kids to fail. Not fail because they didn’t try hard enough at something, but fail in spite of how hard they tried. We have to love them through those tough times. We don’t call the school and demand a different grade, or call the coach and demand a spot on a team. We hold our children tightly through failure so that they realize failure can be overcome. We have the opportunity to help our students know that they are more than the grade they got on a test or project. That their hard work matters because in the end, a hard fought for “B” will pay far more dividends than an easily earned “A.” That sometimes getting into the “right” school isn’t right at all because God has a different plan for you. These are all tough lessons, but it is not our job to clear the path of tough stuff for our kids. It is our job to love them through the tough stuff.
Together we can hold them accountable for kindness, and not tolerate unkind words or actions. We, the adults, can model kindness—with our spouses, co-workers, neighbors, and especially with those with differing viewpoints. Teaching our children to love one another is one of God’s greatest commandments. New Zealand is a reminder of what happens when it isn’t taught.
I share in your frustration, anger, and grief over the headlines these last few days, but I remain hopeful. We are different at ROBS, and I am thankful to be a part of a School that is courageously helping you raise children that will be courageously different than what mainstream culture tells them to be.
ROBS Head of School