Monday, April 2, 2012

Adventures of a Freshman

Who is that guy?

That's the dashing "Captain Denny" from a stage version of Pride and Prejudice.

That's the kid who got straight A's in his third quarter as a high school freshman.

That's the new Chelsea varsity tennis player (they had no baseball team this year, can you believe it?).

That's the kid who is old enough to be within months of getting his Learner's know, as in "to drive A CAR!"

He is all of this and more. John Paul is well launched on his adolescent journey. I keep waiting for the walls to come falling down on us, but they haven't...yet.

Certainly, he is a growing boy. The grocery budget has gone through the roof. When he was little it was so cheap to feed him. "Another mouth to feed" just sounded like one of those cliches. In fact, we had to force the kid to eat. Ha! I can't imagine what that was like (but thanks to technology, I don't have to--we have a video of baby John Paul eating his first bowl of hot cereal).

Obviously, he's growing in many ways. A lot of credit is due to the remarkable school he has been attending this past year. John Paul really seems to be blossoming at Chelsea Academy, where he is not only learning plenty of math and science, but also...gosh!...real humanities. The kid is reading Plato. In ninth grade.

I don't think I even knew who Plato was in ninth grade. And I went to a pretty good high school.

He is learning to expand his imagination and developing a more structured approach to logic and abstract concepts. He is encountering great minds and great ideas, and he is gaining a deeper awareness of the horizons of art and philosophy, as well as the profound correspondence between reason and Christian faith.

Of course, we've been trying to give him that since the day he was born. And given his natural gifts and his nerdy parents, no one is surprised to hear that John Paul is "smart." What makes us especially happy, however, is to be able to work with a school that shares our commitment to Christ and the Church, to building a solid and balanced Christian and human environment, to opening up opportunities for sports and other formative experiences, and to real friendships. It has been a good transition from the Montessori educational experience that has already formed him and helped prepare him to be an engaged, interested, and self-motivated person.

It was a year ago that I wrote a blog post about taking John Paul to a hockey game. Already, a year has gone by.

It's been a good year, thanks be to God.