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HeightsCast: Forming Men Fully Alive

Welcome to HeightsCast, the official podcast of The Heights School! Every other week, we feature interviews with teachers and educators here at The Heights School and elsewhere, on the education and formation of the type of man you’d want your daughter to marry. Our hope is that through this medium we can enlighten, inspire, and reassure the parents and friends of The Heights community, and parents and educators throughout the world. Join us!
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HeightsCast: Forming Men Fully Alive
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Oct 30, 2020

Heights Middle School Head, Mr. Andy Reed, discusses the middle school years. Drawing on his years of experience working with middle school boys and their families, Mr. Reed offers practical advice on how parents can best help their sons grow during these crucial years of formation. While we have often heard it said that parents should "cut the cord" and "let him leave the nest," in this talk Mr. Reed emphasises the importance of parents combining freedom with formation. He recommends parents keep their sons especially close during these critical years, even as they give them the genuine freedom to grow in virtue.  

Oct 13, 2020

Our lives have been altered in ways few of us thought possible before March 2020.

As a school, we wouldn't presume to broadcast our opinions on matters of public policy or medical science. We can, however, at this point speak to the impact of closure and other preventative measures on our boys. No preventative comes without cost, and for a young man in the formative years of his life, these days have ceased being a brief episode, taking on an air of semi-permanence. How is this affecting our sons?

Alvaro de Vicente gives an evening lecture discussing the impact on young people of what has come to be known as the "new normal." More importantly and optimistically, Mr. de Vicente will discuss the ways that we, as parents and primary educators, can accompany our boys through the turbulent waters of Covid-19, building them into the "men fully alive" we hoped and prayed they would be, both before March 2020 and after.

Sep 18, 2020

Heights Headmaster, Alvaro de Vicente, shares his thoughts on friendship. We are told that friendship is one of the highest goods of human existence. Yet, despite our purported ability to find "friends" at the click of a button, building an authentic friendship takes time and effort, especially for our boys. Hear Mr. de Vicente discuss ways that parents can coach, manage, and accompany their sons through the selection or friends, and the building up of friendships that will last a lifetime.

May 22, 2020

Middle School Head, Andy Reed, offers helpful, practical, guidance for parents seeking to finish the academic year well under these historically challenging days. Mr. Reed offers advice derived from countless conversations with Heights parents striving to form "men fully alive" during a time more insular than days gone by, and days to come.

May 13, 2020

As parents, one of our primary duties is to help our children discover that gratitude is a path to lasting happiness.  But where is the trailhead and how do we go about getting our boys on the right track, especially in a busy age of myriad privileges that are now assumed to be entitlements?  In such an age, how can we foster a culture of appreciation and gratitude in our homes? 

Apr 15, 2020

Mr. de Vicente offers his advice to students during these Corona months. Establishing and executing an ordered plan of life is critical for students wishing to grow intellectually, physically, morally, and spiritually. In this interview, our headmaster shares his advice for young men seeking to win in all aspects during this era of distance learning.

Feb 11, 2020

Dads, how often do we try to strong arm our sons into success?  Is this the best way?  Even if your son achieves success, is it his win or is it yours?  Join Andy Reed for a discussion of fatherhood.  Learn more about what our Middle School Head refers to as the “bedrock principle” of fatherhood, the notion that you, as a father, have to accompany rather than manage your boy, and that he will draw confidence for himself from your confidence in him.

Jan 31, 2020

This week on HeightsCast we feature a recording of our most recent Heights Lecture Series featuring Colin Gleason, who discusses the formation of conscience in the young boy. Though we focus, among other things, on the formation of the will at The Heights, the formation of a boy’s moral compass–his conscience–is equally important. The forming of a child’s conscience begins at a very early age. The peer group, school, and culture will all be factors in our children’s moral growth, but no environment will affect the bearings of conscience more than the that of the home. So how can we best train our young sons to have the knack of interpreting right from wrong, especially in today’s seemingly amoral climate? Tune in to hear Colin Gleason approach this important theme.

Jan 18, 2020

Lower School Head, Colin Gleason, addresses "bullying" in today's podcast.  All across our fair land, schools feature "Say No to Bullying" posters in the same way that our public transit systems caution riders to "see something, say something." Our children have grown up on high alert that there is a troubled class of individuals out there--BULLIES--that is out to get them.  That may be true in some sense, but Colin pushes back on the idea that every instance of aggression or lack of charity is "bullying."  He offers advice for parents and schools working through tough social situations.  Through out the conversation, our Lower School Head grounds his guidance in the goal of raising boys into protectors.  Rather than telling young lads not to use their strength, we must channel that strength towards good, noble, and manly purposes.

Dec 26, 2019

Fr. Carter Griffin, Rector of the St. John Paul II Seminary in Washington, DC, shares his thoughts on vocation. Where are vocations coming from? What are the characteristics of homes that are conducive to our sons hearing the Lord's call? How has his approach to formation changed with the arrival of young men raised in a digital age? Fr. Griffin discusses all of this and more in today's podcast.

Nov 25, 2019

Our headmaster, Alvaro de Vicente, offers a lecture on how to build a solid relationship of trust with your son. This relationship matters because it is the context within which you will form your boy's character.

Nov 15, 2019

Brad Soderberg, Assistant Coach for the UVA Men's Basketball Team, shares his thoughts on coaching and parenting character through athletics at a very high level.

Oct 30, 2019

Hear our Headmaster, Alvaro de Vicente, explain the mission and vision of The Heights.  For 50 years, we have partnered with parents to form "men fully alive" by tending to the intellectual, moral, physical, and spiritual well-being of every boy.

Oct 25, 2019
Smart phones present unprecedented challenges to parents.  Consequently, we are encouraged to "wait until 8th."  Head of Heights Mentoring, Joe Cardenas, wonders whether we should hang in there just a little longer.  
 
Have Smart Phones Destroyed a Generation, Jean Twenge (TheAtlantic.com)
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/has-the-smartphone-destroyed-a-generation/534198/

"Psychologically, however, they are more vulnerable than Millennials were: Rates of teen depression and suicide have skyrocketed since 2011. It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades. Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones."

Teens find circumventing Apple’s parental controls is child’s play, 
Reed Albergotti (Washington Post)
https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/10/15/teens-find-circumventing-apples-parental-controls-is-childs-play/
 
“These are not rocket science, backdoor, dark Web sort of hacks,” said Chris McKenna, founder of the Internet safety group Protect Young Eyes. “It blows me away that Apple hasn’t thought through the fact that a persistent middle school boy or girl can bang around and find them.”
Oct 11, 2019

In this episode, Mr. Kyle Blackmer explores the virtue of order and how we, as parents partnering with teachers, can share it with our middle school boys. It is entirely possible for a young man of 13 to appreciate an ordered life and an ordered mind. It is also possible to teach a young man lacking order to embrace a new virtue. Listen in to learn how.

Sep 19, 2019

Are manners stodgy vestiges of a bygone aristocratic age? At The Heights, we'd offer a resounding "no." Manners matter, and as parents and teachers, these "rules of civility" offer a great opportunity for teaching our boys virtue. Listen in to hear more.

Aug 29, 2019

Headmaster Alvaro de Vicente offers advice to individuals interested in stepping to the front of the classroom. What sort of temperament best suits a teacher? What ought one to study in order to prepare? Listen in to learn more about what Heights Headmasters, from Bob Jackson to Alvaro de Vicente, have looked for in their faculty for 50 years.

Aug 23, 2019

Dr. Matt Mehan explores the relationship between practical and speculative wisdom in the liberal arts education. He explains that "an education in the liberal arts must give pride of place to practical wisdom, to navigating the realm of becoming, while resisting the temptation to focus on speculative or contemplative Wisdom, that final rest and joy of the heavenly realm of being."

Aug 12, 2019

Lower School Head, Colin Gleason, offers a Heights Lecture on integrity. He shares how honesty requires far more than merely telling the truth; our boys must learn to live the truth.

Jul 30, 2019

In today's episode of HeightsCast, Heights Headmaster Alvaro de Vicente discusses hiring, the attributes of the teachers he hires, and where he finds them. A faculty is a School's most valuable resource. It is mission-essential to get hiring right; our headmaster discusses his approach here.

Jul 24, 2019

Newly installed University of Dallas President, Dr. Thomas Hibbs, discusses the challenges facing higher education in the liberal arts. How should parents approach the college decision? What are some of the strengths and weaknesses of high school graduates today? Is college for everyone? Tune in to hear Dr. Hibbs discuss these questions.

Jul 19, 2019

Newly installed University of Dallas President, Dr. Thomas Hibbs, discusses the challenges facing higher education in the liberal arts.  These challenges are both financial and cultural, stemming not only from external threats, but arising also from a misunderstanding by universities themselves of the true nature of liberal studies.  Dr. Hibbs explores the ideas underlying the liberal arts education, and then discusses their implications for various aspects of college life, such as formation in virtue and the study of the more practical arts.  

Jul 8, 2019

In today's episode, Dr. Matt Mehan explores the virtue of patriotism. We forget that this is a virtue, especially in a digital age that unleashes and misdirects our lesser instincts. But gratitude is, in fact, due to our Founders and our Nation. How do we express this gratitude, and how, in light of that duty, do we handle the more difficult aspects of our nation's past?

Jul 3, 2019
In this episode, Mr. de Vicente:
  • Discusses the three prerequisites for a healthy young-adult relationship: Good Intentions, Other-Centric Worldview, Self-Mastery.
  • Discuses the three requisites for a healthy relationship: Rules, Communication, Accountability.
Jun 26, 2019

In this episode, Upper School Head, Michael Moynihan discusses how we as a School partner with fathers to help them share God's plan for marriage and human love with their sons.

  • Each child has the right to a personal conversation with their parents about human love. To deal with this topic solely in an institutional way does not do it justice.

  • The topic of human love is best addressed in the context of the home, in such a way that both respects the child's innocence and respects the metaphysical and spiritual realities of love, not just the physical.

  • Schools do have a role to play in this education through an integrated curriculum offering, inter alia, examples of friendship and love in literature, a correct human anthropology through philosophy, and a love for the theological underpinnings of the sacrament of marriage.

  • Schools also have a role to play in supporting parents as they educate and form their sons. This is especially true given that many parents are trying to offer their guidance to their sons in a way that is different from what they themselves received.

  • The Heights offers a series of nights for fathers. In the 4th grade, we discuss with the fathers how to begin sharing with their sons God's plan for marriage; in the 6th grade, we discuss with the fathers how to begin to address the threats to God's plan, especially pornography; in 9th grade, we discuss the proper approach to courtship.

  • Fathers must share with their sons the fact that God's plan for marriage are under attack, especially when it comes to pornography. Sons must be given the tools to confront this great evil when they are first exposed to it. Otherwise, interest may result from initial paralysis.

  • These conversations are most effective when there is a good foundation in place, including (a) a developed appropriate friendship between father and son, (b) a home where modesty is observed, (c) a culture in the home that celebrates mom and dad's stories and marriage.

  • An area to be aware of is the vice of curiosity, which is, properly understood, a dull boredom and disinterest in reality, the natural tendency of which is towards passive entertainment-seeking. This leads directly to dependance on pornography.

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