As you may already know, I have put forward the theme of unconditional love as a rallying cry for our community this year. This particular kind of love is not merely a cotton candy, feel-good, rose-colored kind of love. It is intentionally willing the good of another person. That is the sense in which it is unconditional. No matter what, we will the good of others at our Academy.
But this theme raises a related question: what kinds of things do we view as good at North Phoenix Prep? Or, to put it another way, what kinds of things do we love?
I'd like to introduce you to six of the things that we love at North Phoenix Prep, and I'll write about each of them in the coming weeks. At our Academy, we love:
- The Virtues: Moral, Intellectual, and Athletic Excellence
- The Western Tradition
- Human Dignity and Freedom
- Philosophical Realism
- Conversation and Community
Virtue (Latin virtus, Greek arete) is not simply a single act, but rather a lived habit of excellence. We believe that we ought to cultivate universally recognized moral habits such as justice, moderation, courage, and prudence. We also ought to foster intellectual excellence, which involves not only the knowledge of facts but also the wisdom and understanding necessary to draw those facts into a coherent whole, as well as the acquisition of particular skills. Furthermore, excellence extends to our physical bodies in the arena of athletic competition. Whether our virtues are moral, intellectual, or athletic, we seek above all the virtue of magnanimity, or greatness of soul. In other words, we seek to possess all of the virtues and to do so without arrogance.
Our love of the virtues means that we think differently about human excellence. We don't think about it in terms of performance or results alone. A virtuous person does more than merely produce a certain output; he or she has become a person of truly excellent character. Neither do we think about excellence in therapeutic or emotivist terms. Becoming good can actually feel bad at first, just as becoming physically fit is painful at the beginning. We thus believe that we can aid each other in the pursuit of excellence just like a coach or a personal trainer: through encouragement, accountability, and trust.
As I continue this series on our Six Loves, please reach out with whatever questions you have. It's important that we engage together in coming to understand these vital aspects of our Academy culture.