Written by Horace Gaines
PARENT: I’ve read some of the things you’ve written about the perils of dating in high school, as well as the dangers of letting teenagers use social media or form missionary friendships with unbelievers. I understand that these things aren’t good for most teenagers, but my son has a strong walk with the Lord. Doesn’t the spiritual maturity of the teenager matter? Is it really fair to judge all teenagers similarly incompetent to handle these things?
GIBBS: Would you say your son has a strong walk with the Lord?
PAREENT: Yes, I would.
You can learn quite a lot about classical Christian education by dropping in on a dozen randomly chosen CCE websites, meandering through the “About Us” section, and noting what is common to all.
Is this classical school right for your children? The fifth graders chanting in Latin are impressive, the presentation on Dorothy Sayers is intriguing, the uniforms are sharp, but what prospective parents really want to know is what the lunch table conversations are like.
You’ve probably met people with theoflective personalities before, but maybe only once or twice in your whole life. This is because people with theoflective personalities, also known as theoflects, are some of the most rare and important people in the world today. Fewer than one in five thousand people manifest theoflective personalities, although they may be even more uncommon than that. However, my daughter is one of them. My daughter is a theoflect.
What follows is a fantasy. A very, very sane fantasy.
PARENT: Thanks for the tour of your school. I wish we had found classical education years ago. Having talked it over with my wife, I think we’re ready to sign a contract. I do have to ask, though, how much is tuition?
ADMIN: Well, it depends. If your child does not have a smart phone, tuition is $9,500 per year. If your child does have a smart phone, it’s $19,500. There are also additional tuition charges if your child has an Instagram account or a TikTok account.
PARENT: Are you serious? Why?
Between “Dream big” and “Change the world,” the preponderance of bad advice adults are apt to give children is amply covered. Despite having a positive, vaguely inspirational air about it, “Change the world” is really nothing other than an exhortation to seize power. Progressives tend to not really care what is done with power after it is seized, for newly seized power invariably creates change. Progressives cannot long agree on a destination towards which progress ought to be made, but change does a suitably convincing impersonation of progress.
While I believe there are good reasons for teachers to not use rubrics when grading student work, I also believe there are bad reasons, and I suspect that many people find the bad reasons more persuasive. What are the bad reasons? Simply put, rubrics make it much harder for teachers to inflate grades, and un-inflated grades are profoundly offensive to modern sensibilities.
"He will not have true friends who is afraid of making enemies."
In this episode, I describe the skepticism I felt toward the idea of having "personal enemies" in my 20s. I also explain why I quit that skepticism in my 30s. Elsewhere in the episode: a lengthy discussion of why the claim, "I married my best friend," rubs me the wrong way; why my wife makes me anxious; why it is good I am anxious.
References to Aristotle, Jerry Seinfeld, and Lenny Belardo.
Most great human projects will need more than one generation to come to fruition. This means that real progress necessitates that older generations be capable of persuading younger generations that their projects are worth continuing. Otherwise, younger generations will simply tear down what already exists and begin again, their children will do the same, their grandchildren will do the same, and a cathedral which requires a hundred years to build will never move beyond the twenty-five year mark, even though the laborers continue for many centuries.