A Few Words from our Director, Sue Warren to the golfers – RCA Golf Marathon Dinner - June 4, 2018
First of all thank you again for coming and giving up your time and effort to raise money and play in this tournament. I am well aware of the demands that we all face from charities that are dear to our hearts, and how sometimes the requests seem quite daunting. The great thing about this tournament is that you not only get a great breakfast, lunch, and dinner but also a fantastic gift basket - seems like a win-win to me.
That being said, the impact of this programme cannot be underestimated. When God called Lisa and I to start RCA neither of us had any real idea of what it would look like and to be honest, we have been begging for direction ever since.
Our initial plan to support children representing around 10% of our fee base, was blown out of the water day 1. As Lisa always says “if you want someone to look after your child, just leave them on our doorstep”. There have been times when our support level has been at the level at which our fearless Chairman, Doug, has turned a somewhat distressed shade of green (there is a reason why we call him The Big Cheese – it seems kinder than calling him The Big Limburger), but you know God is greater than our fears and He has provided year after year through Thomas and his team and all of you.
Seven years ago we started the school because God called us to do so, but we didn’t really know why. Now we look at RCA and the why is a little clearer. RCA is a truly unique educational experience for students, teachers, and parents alike. Students are taught at their own individual level to reach for their own personal excellence by what I would argue is the most fantastic teaching staff on the face of the planet.
And what is personal excellence?
For a few, their gifting really is academic, and we have the privilege of teaching them to reach into themselves to learn to love learning and to allow themselves to reach for the academic stars;
For others their gifting is athletic. If their knowledge and skills are in individual sports we expose them to team sports and teach them to win and lose with grace. On the other hand, if their existing passion is for a team sport we teach them the skills that an individual sport requires through our unique swimming programme.
Through the passion, creativity, and energy of our exceptional teachers, students with gifting in the arts, music, theatre, languages, and IT are given the opportunity (and a safe environment) in which to try, succeed, and sometimes fail, always with a forward uplifting momentum.
Childhood is a period of trial and error, it is the time when children should be allowed to make mistakes, to test boundaries, and to find guidance from a “village” of caring adults whose collective interest is in the development of the next generation of moral and value-based adults. During this precious and short time, it is the RCA contention that children should be allowed to develop at their own pace and therein lies the 21st century problem.
The 21st century is force feeding children a slurry of un-filtered information that we can see is stressing them out on a grand scale. Seven years ago the most commonly discussed problem for elementary-aged school children was ADHD with the associated push to medicate them with Ritalin and other addictive drugs; 7 years later the most commonly discussed problem is anxiety disorder with the associated push to medicate them with anti-depressants.
While not disputing that some children do have those problems, we have found through experience that children who come to RCA are happy and well-adapted, able to participate in the RCA community and work at grade level. The caveat with that comment is that for children who come to us after Grade 3 with those problems, the problems are often entrenched so deeply that we can do nothing other than give them a safe place to spend their elementary school years.
I listened to a parenting conference a short while ago. The comment was made that children today have 5 core beliefs:-
It’s all about ME;
I should be able to have what I want when I want it;
I should be happy all the time;
The only person who deserves respect is me;
I can get all the information that I need from the internet.
The fundamental problem is that those beliefs are not realistic and set them up for pain and failure in the real world. Furthermore, the Bible specifically teaches otherwise;
Belief #1 It’s all about ME
In Mark 12:30 Jesus tells his followers to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
It’s not about ME, it’s about God.
Belief #2 I should be able to have what I want when I want it
The Bible talks about God’s time, Ecclesiastes 3:1 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens”
Patience is something that children need to learn and use because the Bible makes clear that the “when” is God’s time not theirs;
Belief #3 I should be happy all the time
Jesus specifically tells his followers that in this world they will have troubles in John 16:33 when he says “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. “
During times of trouble our children will not be happy, but what they can have the Bible promises, even during times of trial, is JOY. It is our job to teach them the difference.
Belief #4 The only person who deserves respect is me
You have only to dip into the Bible in the most superficial manner to know that this is patently untrue; other than honouring God, the fourth commandment states that we are to “Honour our father and mother”, and in Romans 13:1 “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.”
Belief #5 I can get all the information that I need from the internet.
In today’s world you probably CAN get all the information that you need from the internet, but information is not knowledge, and knowledge is not wisdom.
Proverbs 4:6-7 “Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: get wisdom. Though it cost you all you have, get understanding”.
RCA is a unique school that prepares all its students, irrespective of demographic, to go to high school strong in Biblical morals and values and ready to defend them; safe in the knowledge that they are perfectly created in the image of God. Our students leave RCA ready to face the challenges and trials of the real world without buckling under pressure.
The other day I was talking about RCA to a group of business leaders and fund managers. They were clearly interested and impressed in what I had to say but then they crushed me with their final question “Given that RCA is so small, what do you think that you are achieving?”
I replied that “We may be small, but we are creating the leaders for the future!”
Parents’ affluence or lack thereof should not determine which children have access to this amazing school and that is why the bursary programme exists. To date we have supported 67 children over multiple years from 40 families who could not otherwise afford RCA, and that is all thanks to you, Thomas and his team, without whom none of this would be possible.
I thank you for helping us to prepare the Christian leaders of the future!!!