NC State Representatives Talk Civil Discourse at Wesleyan
1 Peter 3:15
“…always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have, but do this
with gentleness and respect.”
Many of you would agree that given the current contentious political and cultural environment in which we find ourselves, good media and political role models who can skillfully engage to find common ground and solutions have quickly become a rare find. Teaching children to interact with people with an array of differing worldviews and modeling patient civil discourse has become an increasing priority at Wesleyan.
One of our outcomes is to ensure that we are equipping your children to effectively and winsomely lead in whatever environment or profession the Lord chooses them to serve. Values like seeking first to understand then be understood, to dialogue with respect and grace no matter what the subject or separation of values, and to demonstrate a humble and tactful spirit are integrated into your child’s education every day. By doing so, we can best meet our mission in preparing our kids…”to serve Christ and influence the world.”
With this in mind, last Friday, we were honored to host two of North Carolina’s State Representatives, along with Linda Nelson, Executive Director of the N.C. Association of Independent Schools, Dr. Bart Danielson, Professor at N.C. State’s Poole School of Management, and Guilford County Commissioner Hank Henning to visit Wesleyan for a bipartisan discussion about the potential for bringing another school choice initiative to the City of High Point. They were also very gracious of their time and shared their perspectives in one of our high school classes.
To help our students better grasp the concept of “civil discourse”, Rep. Cecil Bowman (D) and Rep. Jon Hardister (R), shared their mutual commitment to excellence in education and for civility in dealing with one another with Mr. Barber’s Civics Class. Rep. Brockman explained to the group that up to 80% of the legislation that is debated in the House of Representatives is nonpartisan. Unfortunately, the media often reports on more controversial issues. The filtered messages we often see on the news is that Republicans and Democrats refuse to get along with one another.
According to both gentlemen, this is not true in North Carolina. Rep. Hardister even commended Rep. Brockman for his “courage” in advocating for school choice, as it’s not a popular stance to take amongst his peers. Hardister added that they are working together each day to have nuanced discussions with respect for one another and to make the best decisions for North Carolinians. “Unfortunately,” he added, “only 2/10 of what we debate is reported.”
High School Principal Tim Rickman encouraged the students that, just like these men, they can have different ideas and even disagree, but still work together – and even like one another. Mr. Rickman added, “These men set a great example of how, although they may have different beliefs, they can sit down across the table and discuss those differences in a calm, respectful manner.”
We are especially grateful to Reps. Brockman, Hardister, and Commissioner Henning as well as the rest of the delegation, for their time, insight and intentional efforts towards civility as they work together for North Carolina. May our children always see in us the blessings and benefits of respectful and gracious conversations in a culture that seems resolved on censuring those who express a different set of beliefs than their own.
Dr. Rob Brown
Head of School