Last weekend Faith and I joined hundreds of other parents for Welcome Weekend at Taylor University. It was weird being at a place where I had never met the people in charge, knew very little about the institution, and yet is the place I'm trusting to take care of my daughter for the next four years. Some of my takeaways after this first extended visit to Taylor University...
- The school is more than 150 years old, and yet somehow they have stayed true to their founding values. This was evident in every interaction and presentation.
- The school is profoundly Christian and centered on the Bible. It is not like many institutions that were founded on Christian principles and then long ago abandoned.
- Taylor University is named after William Taylor. Never heard of the guy, but upon a quick search, I find he was a Bishop with the Methodist Episcopal Church in the late-1800's.
- Every faculty member whom I encountered is deeply authentic and genuinely committed to Heather's success. That was a little surprising. With any large organization I expect to find a few people who are merely earning a paycheck or lazily enjoying tenure. Perhaps they hid those folks during Welcome Weekend, because from the provost's council to the dining staff to the cross country coaches--I found nothing but people who exude the love of Jesus, embrace a spirit of excellence, and offer wonderful care for my daughter.
- Every student I met (both freshmen and upper classmen) are exactly the type of people I would want my daughter hanging with, learning from, and growing beside. With 2,000 students--the law of large numbers says there are likely students who are not on the straight and narrow path. But I didn't meet any of them.
- As we sat in a session to meet the Provost's Council, I looked down the line at each faculty member and got a little emotional inside. Knowing these adults are absolutely committed to helping Heather over the next four years makes me want to hug every one of them and not let go. Of course, I'm not a hugger, so I just sat, smiled, and got a little misty eyed.
Environments have always been one of the center pillars of our parenting philosophy. Since the day our kids were born we looked for environments (in addition to our home) where they would have the highest likelihood of taking steps in their faith and becoming successful, contributing members of society. These included schools, youth groups, summer camps, retreats, Bible studies, vacations and more. We knew there would be a day when these environments (and the friendships they produced) would have a greater influence on our children than we do as parents.