The Power of Memory
The Power of Memory
by Jonathan McGuire, North Campus Dean
Memory is a dangerous thing. It is God’s mercy we forget so many things in our past. What would your state of mind be like if you remembered everything? Yet, the older we get, the more we realize what we lose by forgetting. I remember what I was like in elementary school and middle school. Is that good for me in the present? I don’t know. Memory’s power is dangerous, causing us to forget what we wish to remember and remember what we wish we could forget. But perhaps with both, God is creating in us a heart of wisdom for a life of love.
I often think about the memories we’re creating for students at Capstone. What memories will shape their decisions in the present? What will haunt them as they decide their futures? I hope they will think back to what we’re doing in our classrooms, hallways, and Houses and think, “I remember the ways goodness, truth, and beauty were shared at Capstone. I will do what I can to give that to others—to my spouse, my children, my church, my world.”
In Peter’s second letter, the apostle says several times, “I am reminding you,” and then reminds readers of great truths. I spend much of my day going to and fro, praying for calm and wisdom as I address student concerns, seek to understand tears, encourage artistic and linguistic beauty, and laugh with joy when appropriate. But I do say quite often, “Remember” this or that conversation; remember the power the Spirit brings you for self-control, for selfless love, for humility. Remember your calling, students!
At North Campus, I started this conversation early with the young men. I regularly remind them they are made to do hard things: defend the weak, serve their neighbor, build great things, resist moral decay, and that, especially in order to resist, the Spirit within them is more powerful than the spirit at work in the sons of disobedience, as Saints John and Paul say. I remind them of the expectations we have of them—and those of Christ towards them—to create a public space in which truth and virtue are apparent and where they bear fruit for all.
I know our curriculum provides opportunity for this; now it is up to each child, whether learner or scholar, to hate what is evil and cling to what is good (Romans 12:9), and to resist the sin that clings so closely (Hebrews 12:1), and in all things, to sing with joy to the Lord Jesus Christ not only in morning Lauds and Chapel, but through the work of their hands and thoughts of their minds every day. They have a long way to go, but I hope they’ll remember.