Clapham Christian Classical School

Clapham Journal

Prince Rilian Moments

by Doug Reynolds, Head of School


Here at Clapham our vision is to “equip men and woman to intentionally serve Christ by cultivating his goodness, truth, and beauty in the world”. This is a consistent theme of classical schools – this pursuit of Truth, Goodness and Beauty.


This comes from centuries of tradition, dating back to the ancient Greeks and how they thought about education.  It’s a training of students to learn to love rightly.

  • To Love and know better the God who is the author of Truth, Goodness and Beauty,
  • To Know and understand themselves better
  • And to know and serve their neighbors better so as to honor God.

As David wrote in Psalms 27:4,


“One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.”



What could be better: To cultivate both the mind and the heart to love rightly to long to “gaze upon the beauty of the Lord”?


This is quite different from other education models. To illustrate this difference, let me invite you to consider three areas to pay attention should you have the chance to visit our classrooms:


  1. Our curriculum. The texts are different. They not only call the students up to a higher standard – but they are beautiful.
  2. Our atmosphere. Notice the uncluttered classrooms. We don’t have posters all over the walls, but instead try to keep it simple – as much like a home as we can. It’s simple, yet beautiful.
  3. Our students. Listen to what they are interested in. They find joy in poetry, literature, bible, math, science, art – and look for how these are being cultivated in the classroom and at home. Please encourage that desire in your children.


We didn’t start this school 8 years ago to just be another option for families in the western suburbs of Chicago – we started it because we feel strongly about preparing young men and women to make a difference in the world for Christ. Frankly, we didn’t see this happening to the level we felt was needed in many other models of education that were offered, and still don’t.



How does this happen each day at school or at home? To illustrate, I’d like to draw on my favorite author CS Lewis to help explain it. In my favorite book in the Narnia Series – The Silver Chair – Prince Rilian is the rightful heir to the throne of Narnia, but he is held captive, prisoner under a spell so that he doesn’t recognize who he is for 23 hours out of each day. He’s not Prince Rilian of Narnia, but instead a knight in the service of the evil ruler of the land of the underworld. But for that 24th hour of each day, he is tied, bound in a silver chair, yet he is lucid and remembers. He sees clearly who he is during this one hour each day.


Once friends from Narnia cut his bonds and free him during this hour one night, he then is free of his spell. He’s free to live as Prince Rilian and do his duty as the rightful heir to the throne.


So, what are we doing as we put true, good and beautiful things in front of the students here at Clapham? We are creating Prince Rilian moments. Moments where they, like Prince Rilian, understand their true selves better, what God has done for them in Christ, and can then see the needs of world around them as they live in light of that truth.


If you are a parent, talk about these “Prince Rilian” moments with your children. Ask them what was beautiful or true that they learned. Guard their time at home so they continue to be exposed to those things. You are training them at home, more so than we are at school. Limit the TV, internet or video games and instead pick up good books to read aloud to them. Play beautiful music for them at home, download some of the classical music they are studying so you can listen at home.


The cumulative effect over years of this careful, regular exposure to beautiful things will help to ensure they are not captive to the culture like Prince Rilian, but free to enjoy and bask in the beauty of what God created. Ultimately this is His work in and through us by His mercy. Let’s respond to that diligently.


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