Andrew Kern

Andrew Kern is the founder and president of The CiRCE Institute and the co-author of the book, Classical Education: the Movement Sweeping America

Andrew Kern Mar 17, 2020

First, living by faith does not mean ignoring your fears or anxieties. It helps to remember that we are complex beings with feelings and thoughts at multiple levels all at the same time. If your body wants to eat candy but your will wants to lose weight, neither choice would be made by somebody other than you. You are not your more authentic self if you give in to a temptation, but you also don't become somebody else.

If you live by faith and there is change and decay and chaos all around you, you should not be surprised if your body and soul feel anxious.

Andrew Kern Mar 16, 2020

When I was a child, I thought like a child, and since my mother recognized that she read to me from books that did not condescend to me. In my memory, she read to the four boys who were her sons almost every day, usually from the book of Proverbs. 

Since it is my memory we are using to remember this, it probably happened a lot less than I remember it, but it happened enough that I do remember it, and I remember it as a defining activity of my childhood. 

Day after day, she would read the words of Solomon:

Andrew Kern Mar 2, 2020

The rhetorician is not safe if he imagines that anything he says can have value when it is separated from or other than the fruit of prayer.

He is a fool if he thinks he can do more than proclaim the crucified Christ as a Herald proclaims a simple message. If his words are for his advantage instead of the blessing of the listener, he is not standing beneath the cross as he speaks.

If his words are not emanations of the light of Christ he has not brought his message from the throne of the heavenly Majesty.

Andrew Kern Dec 18, 2019

Here are a few ideas. Let me know if they help or distract you:

First, you must lower your standards. It is not possible to achieve as much as you could with an easy book when it comes to scoring well on a test or developing the bad reading habits that endeavor forms in you if you want to read something more challenging. You won't remember as much. You won't understand as much. You won't be able to imitate as easily.

But you'll remember more that is worth remembering, you'll understand life and yourself better, and you'll be more humble before the masters. 

Andrew Kern Nov 12, 2019

If you have attended a CiRCE conference the odds are pretty good that you have prayed a prayer with us that includes the words: "teach me to treat all that comes to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that your will governs all."

When I say these words, I am usually asking with in interesting attitude of expectation: I expect something terrible to happen today so I am asking God to teach me to accept it with "peace of soul and firm conviction" because it's going to be hard to take. 

Andrew Kern Jul 29, 2019

The hardest thing by far about my vocation is the travel, and the hardest thing about travel is coming home. 

No, it isn't returning to my dear Penelope (nee Karen) that is so hard. It's returning to a world that has kept on moving without me, both at home and at work. And it has been moving without my guidance or oversight or sovereign rule. 

Again, don't misunderstand me. I don't even mean the people - I just mean the world. It keeps on changing and adapting to changes around it. 

Andrew Kern Jul 4, 2019

A great deal is made of "critical thinking" in the general background noise of our culture, especially when people talk about education and what kids aren't getting.

I got thinking about that while I was listening closely to a John Denver song on my way in to work this morning. Being a John Denver song it was filled with lofty ideals and longing and very little connection to the real world where decisions are made and have consequences.

This one was about children and the chorus goes:

Andrew Kern Jul 2, 2019

The formal structure of reality, the foundation on which everything is based, enables you to think more clearly about anything.

In every experience, moral, artistic, athletic, philosophical, even spiritual, there are three participants:

The actor, artist, or producer

The audience, viewer, or percipient (i.e., one who perceives with his senses)

The action, object, or artifact

Neither of these three is the master of the experience, none is the standard by which the experience is measured.

Andrew Kern Jun 29, 2019

Every lesson we teach embodies a theory of authority:

  • About the teacher's authority
  • About the lesson's authority
  • About the student's authority
  • About what authority itself is

The purpose of what I can consider "a true lesson" is to give authority to the person learning it.

The essence of a lesson is, therefore, the handing on of authority from a magister (teacher) or auctoritas (author, authority) to the discipulus (learner, disciple).

Andrew Kern Feb 15, 2019

Young people judge things too hastily. It is a mark of immaturity, and we all have areas where we are immature.

However, the ability to rightly judge what is good or bad, just or unjust, fitting or inappropriate is essential to our ability to function as human beings in a world that we all agree is full of dangerous people, immoral people, unjust people. 

We have an organ by which we can judge these things, but like every organ when we don't use it or when we lose confidence in it, we stop developing it.