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.
Our society puts a heavy emphasis on individuality (“no one should dictate who you are”) and independence (“no one should tell you how to be who you are”). It’s difficult to live like that, though. Even those who shout it from the rooftops either are subjected to constraints or put them on others. We nevertheless strive to define, understand, and live out our identities this way.
The classical renewal places great emphasis on the trivium and on language. In contrast to modern progressive education which only “has a mind of metal and wheels,” classical education restores the primacy of the word over the gadget. Rather than the know-how of mechanical manipulation, a language-based education ascends to the transcendentals of truth, goodness, and beauty. And the crowning achievement of language is poetry for it moves us from the mundane to the spiritual through the symbolic layers of its words.
The “must-read” list, like the making of books, never ends. The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius hardly stands as a newcomer to that list, yet its place has been often overlooked. The Meditations is a classic work of wisdom literature, providing inspiration and endless fodder for reflection and conversation.
Mozart died at 35 having composed over 600 compositions. I circle that age, 35, over and over again until I fear the pen will rip through the page. Why that number means more to me than the number of compositions underscores a simple reality about learning: we can’t stop ourselves from connecting.
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.
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.
This article is part three in a series of reflections on what The Confessions of Saint Augustine has to say to modern educators.
No one questions the whole idea of homeschooling more than a homeschool mom in February. February is a notoriously hard month for homeschool moms. It’s the month most of us want to throw in the towel, quit, hide under a pile of fun books, and send our children to boarding school. In Switzerland.