How do you engage a bunch of seventh and eighth graders to hear a message about virtue? Let them wear their team shirts and jeans, play games and eat pizza, and they will be a captive audience for the message.
Mr. Freeman spoke this morning about the purpose of life. He asked if it was to pursue money? Fame? Happiness? He shared Aristotle's quote, "Happiness is an activity of soul in accordance with perfect virtue." He then broke down that phrase and taught students how to flourish as human beings with excellence; to do something virtuous is to do it with excellence.
They headed up to the softball field for a relay race which was wild and crazy, with things like pushing a ball across the field with your nose, jumping across the field with a hacky sack between your legs, swatting a tennis ball across with a PVC pipe, and more. See the photo gallery for evidence of the craziness and excellent teamwork!
Students were then treated to pizza for lunch and then back up for more games....this time, games intended to make a point about the relationship between belief and virtue. What you believe the rules of the game are will inform how you play. If the rules are ambiguous, you will not be as successful as if you had believed accurately about the rules. These games were the three-legged race, the blindfolded led by those who can't speak, and the Oreo face challenge. After they were instructed about the rules, they played the games, but only upon completion did they get an envelope with more information. This was super fun to watch!
Back in the Celebration Center, Mr. Southwick taught about freedom in Christ based on the mercy and grace of God. He referenced Romans 12:1-2 "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." He challenged them on how they should live and how they could live a life of virtue/excellence.
Finally, they broke into discussion groups led by faculty to debrief about what they had learned.