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Headmaster Philbrick’s Mid-Year Address to Parents January 2024

Let’s consider our context. It is mid-year. It is deep winter. The newness of the year is over. The real challenges of life are here. As parents, you have all experienced the highs and lows of both the social and the academic side of Jesse life. We need a 5-minute reset as to what this is all about, what is Adolescence all for!


Here's a fun thing to consider: if God made all things, and all things for a purpose, and He said that it was all “Good”, then, why did he write “Adolescence” into the prescription! Why not go from childhood, right to young adult life!


History has always been a great teacher for me. I love the great, defining moments in world history. I think of the incredible Winston Churchill speech – fight from the beaches – June 1940. The context:


The Germans were hitting hard; every night, the people of London and surrounding cities would experience the horrific night bomb raids from the German air force. It brought about death and destruction we have a hard time fathoming. Now, it is called, The battle of Britain. It was in this crisis, that Winston Churchill  shared a perspective that we can all learn from.


As a culture, we are in a bit of a Battle of Britain. You don’t have to look to far to see that our kids are getting hit hard from all sides; the enemy is real.


Raising children, and particularly Christian adolescence is a  Journey. It is different for everyone of us, and it is different for every child you have in your household. Some might say that Kate and I have somewhat successfully put 7 kids through adolescence. It is never easy, never the same. What works for one may not work for the next. What worked yesterday, may not work today. We must be ever before the Lord, seeking his wisdom and guidance.

When we look around, we can be prone to look at parents or kids who “seem” to have it all together – that has not been my experience – we all struggle raising teens.


So, what is our task? Our end goal? Our mission: we are persuading a life, formed in a direction. We are overtly and covertly guiding and persuading. We are pushing, pulling, blocking, launching, encouraging, discouraging – thought and behavior. Is this even possible?  YES a big emphatic YES! Like an athletic coach – we are trying to get a team to do something extraordinary.


And yet, here’s the problem: we are not the player, we are not on the field. But, we were on the field, not that long ago


Let’s Define the WIN:  A well postured, well prepared young person that we set loose on the world to go do great things for God.


What do I mean by Postured? How about this, we will keep it simple and clear: to know, love and serve God. We quest to instill the habit that all of life, is indexed through this reality. We want to show each student that every thought, emotion and action is filtered through a Christ centered belief system. We claim that God created all; I’m here for his purpose and will; My job is to find and reflect that plan.


What do I mean by Prepared? How about this, we will keep it simple and clear: a capable, versatile, mature citizen in the workplace, family and church.

At JRHS, we use academic disciplines, project, trips, meetings, activities, etc, all for a higher purpose. These things, as good as they are, are not an end in themselves. They are not the goal. Our goals are more transient, more useful:  reading, writing, thinking, creating, collaborating, solving, computing, speaking and more. We are after skills and traits that can be invested into that Posture I mentioned above. The Classroom is just the Practice Field for the Game ahead


And yet, the challenge with all this is that there is a battle going on around. There is a battel for the school, church, and family.  Some times it feels like for every one step forward there seems to be accompanied by 3 backwards. And, yet, we press on!


Stand with me while we take some inspiration from Sir Winston Churchill, 1940

I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone. At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.



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