March, 4

An Insight: Christian Virtues and Formation of Values in a Christian Military Academy.

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Every military academy is built to instill discipline and leadership qualities in its students. Christian military schools are no different.

However, over time, Christian military schools have improved their curriculum and education experience to exceed raising students who are academically and morally upright but also spiritually sound.

This article seeks to explore the stand of Christian military schools in building all-around and wholesome students who function not only as excellent members of society but also as great Christian leaders inspired by Christian virtues and military values founded on Biblical principles.

Faith and Discipline: Balancing Values in Christian Military Schools

The concept of faith and discipline as it pertains to Christian military schools is a complex topic to deal with.

Christian Military Schools are pivoted at an intersection of faith and discipline, which involves creating an enabling environment and unique experience hinged on building spiritual maturity and a structured development encompassing leadership and academic qualities among its students.

The concept of faith being a vital part of the military school system is fast creeping up in the military setting, as studies have shown that there is a need to set up systems that assist students not just to become academic enigmas but also to build virtues and values that make them wholesome members of society at large.

In the same vein, a deep dive into the activities and outcomes of students who attend Christian military schools shows that it is not enough that students are taught virtues from the perspective of faith without creating a system that keeps it in check, making sure that they do what is right, when it is supposed to be done, and in relevance to society. This system designed to keep it in check is called “discipline.”.

Military schools, at its core, thrive on ‘Discipline’ as a method of teaching students the values of

  • honesty, 
  • selflessness, 
  • Personal courage 
  • duty, 
  • loyalty, 
  • respect and 
  • integrity 

Which explains the aim of military schools for their students. Hence, there is a need for rigorous training and exercise.

However, a critical look at this method of education over the years has shown that most students who go through this method are often hardened and need a feel for what it means to be a person of the values mentioned earlier. They often need to understand why they should become a person of value.

This void then gave rise to a necessary journey back to the source of values that uphold

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military schools, essentially Christian military schools. Topics around the cardinal virtues of the church were introduced to help students understand the values of the military more. These virtues include prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance.

For each of the seven values of military schools, the four cardinal virtues serve as a check and balance, also giving them a stand.

Take, for example, honor. 

The value of honor will be abused and turned to pride if not kept under moderation (the virtue of temperance). Prudence, when taught and applied to honor, allows students to see honor as something to be revered and sought after. Justice, on the other hand, seeks that students act honorably in all things; in that way, they learn to pay honor to themselves and those around them.  

Without considering cardinal virtues as a foundation for the military school, the value of honor becomes a means of seeking vain glory and praise because they make you feel good. When students thrive on this notion for too long, it inevitably leads to dishonor.

In such cases, they dishonor themselves and the community at large.

It is worth noting that when embraced, discipline is life-giving and leads students to a place of excellence, forming them as whole persons capable of functioning as members of society.

Faith seeks to give more profound meaning, a sense of understanding, and strength to the values of discipline upheld by Christian military schools through a strong foundation built on biblical principles. On the other hand, discipline is the thread that weaves the fabric of character formation in students attending Christian military schools.

Additionally, balance is maintained through the structural arrangement of activities that teach students disciplines, such as the JROTC, leadership courses and seminars, and Christian faith values through bible sharing, meditation, chapel services, etc.

Conclusively, while the military takes a keen interest in training a man’s physical, intellectual, and endurance stamina, including Christian virtues and faith-based teaching, it takes a closer look at developing the student’s spirit and soul.

The Impact of Christian Values on Military Education

Military education usually, is founded with a track record of discipline and leadership at its core. However, certain military schools have extended their reach into spirituality beyond their regular programs that instill discipline and leadership. With Christian principles, its influence extends beyond religious studies, shaping the entire student experience.

This section of the article seeks to show the impact Christian values have on military education.

  1. Building a foundation of Morality and Integrity
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A commitment to morality and integrity is at the core of the Christian cardinal virtues.          These virtues, which serve as the basis for military education, aim to instill a strong sense of ethics in students. Teachings on the virtues of honesty, integrity, and humility are integral parts of the school’s curriculum, which eventually shapes students to become excellent in the four walls of the school and outstanding members of society.

  • Spiritual Guidance and Chaplain Mentorship

Chaplains are always integral parts of a Christian military school. These school community members provide guidance, mentorship, and counseling, bridging the gap between faith and personal development.

The presence of chaplains gives students room to have someone they can look up to for mentorship in their spiritual growth, provides room for vulnerability, and assures them they can find answers to questions about Christian virtues they can’t seem to get answers to.

At a Christian military school like Hargrave, the spiritual life component is designed to meet the needs of all students, regardless of their background or perspective on faith and spirituality, and assist them in growing into complete men of character. 

  • Incorporation of Biblical Principles and Teachings in the Educational Curriculum.

Christian military schools integrate biblical truths and teachings into several subjects. These inclusions encourage students to see the relevance of Christian values from a broader perspective.

Whether studying geography, mathematics, history, or science, students, with the assistance of their teachers, are encouraged to explore and understand how Christian principles can aid their understanding of these subjects, which in turn gives a holistic approach to education.

Generation Christian Military School takes a firm stand in bringing this impact to life in the activities of its students. The school incorporates and places the Bible at the center of its curriculum while providing quality education in a Christian atmosphere.

  • Improved thought process and Ethical decision-making

The combination of Christian virtues and military values leads to the development of ethical decision-making skills in students. Based on the standards of military education, sound judgment and moral discernment are two qualities that are essential for influential leaders.

As a result, students are taught strategies and techniques for dealing with moral issues while using Christian values to handle challenging situations with integrity.

  • Development of Leadership Qualities Rooted in Service to Others (Servanthood):

Christian values place a lot of emphasis on servant leadership—the idea that leadership is a form of service to others. This idea shapes future leaders who view themselves from the perspective of duty and service through military education. 

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The focus then shifts from authority to accountability, creating a leadership style that genuinely seeks the well-being of others.

From the points listed above, one could say that military education, which emphasizes leadership qualities and discipline, is intertwined with Christian values in some unique way in certain institutions.

The impact of Christian values extends beyond religious studies in these military institutions, shaping the overall educational experience of their students. 

A day in the life of a student at a Christian Military School

military academy

Now that we understand what education at a Christian Military School looks like let’s take a deep dive into what a day for students in a Christian military school looks like.

Christian military schools run different programs. Some run complete boarding standards, and others function as boarding and day schools.

The structure of activities in Christian military schools differs slightly, making them unique although essentially similar.

Most times, the images of morning drills and taps at lights-out may come to mind when you think of a Christian military school, but a student’s activities in a day are a lot more than that. Students in Christian military schools are involved in worthwhile activities from dawn to dusk.

An example of a typical day for a student in a Christian military school may be as follows;

At San Marcos Academy, the students begin and prepare for their day by getting ready for class, tidying up their rooms, and enjoying breakfast, the first mess.

After the first mess, students attend services at the chapel about twice a week to grow their faith.

The school also provides a morning physical education class that includes calisthenics with their group on days when services at the chapel are not held.

Soon after the service, classes go on till noon. Then, the second mess (lunch) takes place. Tutorials take place after lunch for a few hours, and students are expected to move out for Athletics afterward.

Tutorials are put in place for students who find certain subjects difficult, and tutorials are compulsory for those who fail a course. Athletics come into the picture to build students’ physical fitness and foster confidence, teamwork, and leadership qualities.

By evening, Call to Quarters (CQ), a supervised evening studying period with access to libraries and computer labs and staffed by faculty and academic advisors, usually follows dinner in the mess hall.

Immediately after CQ, students are given time to unwind and prepare for the next day after returning to their rooms.

Students then end each day in their barracks room with TAPS and “lights out” to properly rest for the next day.

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