Historically, education has been the means to cultivate the human-ness of the student. People believed that there were distinctly human abilities and potentials that were good because they were human, and it was the duty of a community to see to it that those talents and abilities were developed.
Those abilities include music, the fine arts, logical reasoning, rhetoric, mathematical skills, language skills, the sciences, etc.
Christian education must be oriented to the Truth, as I argued in my previous post. Christ is the self-proclaimed Way, Truth, and Life. He is the Logos of John 1, the Wisdom of God, the Radiance of the Father's Glory, and the Only-Begotten Son of God.
And, Wonder of wonders, He is the Incarnate Word.
Our Lord, Jesus Christ is not a specialist. He did not come to earth to do one project or to solve one problem and then go back to heaven.
Christ is, as the Apostles John, Paul, and Peter all repeatedly assert and assume, the One in whom all things are held together. He is the Logos.
It is not possible to express in a blog, a book, or an article all that St. John expresses in that word Logos, with which he opens his gospel and by which he identifies his beloved teacher. Perhaps words from St. Paul's epistles might help:
In Psalm 45 the poet pulls back the curtain on how godly poetry is composed and provides a model for us to imitate.
Consider the words of the first verse:
My heart overflows with a good theme
I will recite my verses to the king
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
Here, listed unpoetically, are some principles exemplified in this verse:
The hardest thing about being a classical teacher is that, since you are always oriented toward wisdom and virtue, you cannot be overly interested in mere "academic performance" even though that is what children are supposed to excel in.
Let me rephrase the problem: the hardest thing about being a classical teacher is that everything you do is so interesting, nourishing, and effective, but everybody wants you to do things that are uninteresting, often unhealthy, and ineffective.
On July 18th I stopped contemplating Harmony with about 250 colleagues, friends, and kindred spirits. On the 22nd, I drove up to the University of Kentucky for a week of Latin immersion, and from August 3-7 I was immersed even more deeply into the love of truth-seeking that is the CiRCE Apprenticeship.
After each, I was physically exhausted and intellectually and spiritually nourished, stimulated, and aroused. Dozens of blog posts asked me to write them. Dozens of ideas raced around the spaces of the hollow caverns of my skull. Frustration and joy contended for my chest.
Aristotle once wrote that “It is the mark of an educated man to look for precision in each class of things just so far as the nature of the subject admits.”
This is one of the most important principles of thought ever expressed - and one that has been almost universally neglected in our day, especially by those who oversee the ways we teach our children how to think.
We look for scientific precision when we study literature, for artistic judgment in math and spelling. When we assess, we look for statistical variation of immeasurable matters.
At the very first conference, in July 2002, Dr. Charles Reed presented a wonderful talk that he called "Reading as if for life," a title drawn from Dickens' David Copperfield.
Today, July 15, 2015, Rod Dreher showed us what it means to read as if for life. He reflected through the day on the meaning of the title of his recent book How Dante Can Save Your Life.
If you weren't here, I'm sorry you missed it. I'll write one or two things that impressed me, then ask others to add their insights. First, this:
From December 2008, so lacking in the mellowness of my late years:
Speak all you like about the economic and political ideals of the contemporary school, the education they provide is an education for slaves. Consider this scenario: