Forming Heart and Character: Classes are About More than Knowledge

After attending a public high school, I knew there was an aspect of education I was missing. This aspect was something I didn’t find until I sat in on a class while visiting Grove City College. The development of all aspects of the person and not simply intellectual growth is what drove me to not only seek a Christian college, but to attend Grove City where education is about developing the mind, spirit, and body.

Ancient Greek philosophers taught that education should always include questioning – Socrates was known for his constant questioning. But, how can one question in an academic setting if there is no agreed upon value and purpose of the human life. Here at Grove City, that value and purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

So what does that look like in the classroom?


This week in my Introduction to Ethics class I was assigned a spiritual exercise on silence and listening along with a reading about vainglory. The assignment was to focus on others in conversation, listen instead of talk, and even to seek silence in social media. This exercise opened my eyes to the emptiness I have been seeking in life. It taught me how self-focused I have been—seeking self-glory in all that I do. It showed me how I followed the norms of our culture to talk about myself and use social media as a tool to bring attention and applause to myself. Obviously (as was addressed in class), there is a healthy level of glory, attention, and achievement but the excessive and disordered desire is what leads to vainglory. As I sought to ask others questions about themselves and fully listen to what they had to say, I was surprised by how my relationships flourished and became much stronger.

Paul KengorThis exercise is just one example of the way in which courses at Grove City shape the whole person. By questioning my actions and what current culture praises, I was able to find a way of life that is much richer and satisfying. By seeking a life that glorifies God in the way I value others, it brought me greater joy and happiness. Grove City does not seek to be like other colleges, because it knows that there is a greater happiness and benefit that comes from glorifying God and enjoying Him. It is this type of education that shapes the heart and character of every individual who walks through the doors. This is the incomparable and lasting value Grove City has to offer, one that money cannot measure.



EmmaAuthor Emma Thomas is a Junior  at Grove City College majoring in sociology with minors in philosophy and environmental studies. She’s from Colorado Springs and loves mountain climbing, drinking tea and handwritten letters. Her hope is to go through life seeking God’s goodness in each and every moment and to enjoy the crazy adventures along the way.


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