“Children are born persons” is the first of Charlotte Mason’s principles. A person has a voice, or wants a voice, or should have a voice, especially children. In Paul’s letter to Timothy, he indicates as much, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim. 4:12). Actually, what he indicates is what might be a universal tendency in the older generation to despise the thoughts, ideas, and opinions of the younger generation.
What is rhetoric? You’ve probably heard or thought of rhetoric as the art of persuasion. Fans of Aristotle will probably think of it as the art of finding the available means of persuasion. If you follow in the vein of Quintilian, you will probably think of it as the art of persuasion toward truth (and goodness and beauty). For those of you who have heard Andrew Kern speak on the topic, you’ve probably picked up something along the lines of rhetoric being the art of decision-making in community. One of these is decidedly not like the others.
Let us suppose that we are educating children with an eye to the kingdom of Heaven and with the hope that it might positively affect the culture we swim in. If that is so, it seems to me that we need to