Though I have little interest in standardized personality tests, it has always tickled my fancy that I am the same Meyers-Briggs type as Luke Skywalker. I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that when I was a child, the Bible and Star Wars were the two texts that most informed my vision of the world, and while other children may have preferred the vest of Han Solo or the cloak of Darth Vader, I intuited my kinship with Luke at an early age. Now, as an adult at the beginning of my first year of teaching, I once again see myself in Luke.
It is a mark of education to abhor the cliché. The educated person, the cultured person, feels repulsed by the outworn attempts at expression that pervade kitschy art, radio hits, social exchanges, and campaign-trail patriotism. These all bear witness to George Orwell’s claim in “Politics and the English Language” that “Modern writing at its worst . . .
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.
This article is part two in a series of reflections on what The Confessions of Saint Augustine has to say to modern educators.
In a culture obsessed with efficiency, performance, and competition, we often overlook one of life’s simple pleasures--a pleasure that children experience readily until grown-ups teach it out of them. Lewis explains this pleasure in one of the greatest sermons of the 20th century:
A dialogue with a parent, regarding the practice of confessing sins at Morning Prayer (the form of which is taken from the Book of Common Prayer).
It’s early. Sunlight pours into the riparian valley on which the campus of the classical Christian school sits. The Rhetoric School begins to gather at the doors of the auditorium for their ten-minute liturgy of prayer to start the day. Outside, a parent sees the Headmaster and shares concerns.
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.
In a room full of thirteen-year-olds, I shared that my daughter and I had recently finished reading The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and that it had now become my favorite book in the series. (Full disclosure: every time I finish a Narnia book again, that book runs the risk of becoming my favorite book in the series...)
“This was my first time to read the book …”, I began to share, only to be interrupted.
It has become the fashion—almost, even, the mark of humility—to begin any communication of strong emotion with the tag, Words cannot express. As in, words cannot express how grateful I am, how sorry I am, how excited I am; words cannot express my surprise, my delight, my anger; words cannot express how much I regret, or how much I forgive, or how much I love.
Probatos itaque semper lege, et si quando ad alios deverti libuerit, ad priores redi.
One should always read sound literature, Seneca advises, and when one begins feeling the urge to pass on to new reading material, return to the books or authors already read.
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?