The Commons Podcast is back, and this new season brings you lots of great interviews and conversations on school life and leadership! Here are some snapshots of what you can expect:
The modern approach to discipline, as to most things, seeks an efficient, fail-proof, and above all, universally-adaptable approach.
Parents in their thirties and forties have a curious habit of calling Legos “good toys,” which is generally not the way they describe toy trucks, dolls, tops, jacks, and so forth. Trucks and dolls might be good toys, but children of the 80s and 90s speak of Legos with the same reverential tone and conviction other people use when speaking of “a good man” or “a good woman.” And yet, the same people who commend Legos as “good toys” usually go on to qualify the claim by disparaging many Lego sets of recent years, especially the ones which are based on movie franchises.
"The Kid and the Wolf" by Aesop
A frisky young Kid had been left by the herdsman on the thatched roof of a sheep shelter to keep him out of harm’s way. The Kid was browsing near the edge of the roof, when he spied a Wolf and began to jeer at him, making faces and abusing him to his heart’s content.
“I hear you,” said the Wolf, “and I haven’t the least grudge against you for what you say or do. When you are up there it is the roof that’s talking, not you.”
Recently, the Church celebrated the feast of Pentecost, when God fulfilled His promise by giving the gift of the Holy Spirit, who is sent to teach, comfort, and strengthen the Church as we carry out the Lord’s commission (Matthew 28:16-20, Acts 1:8). And, when we see the manner in which God fulfilled that promise, we again hear several echoes and connections with the Old Testament.
If my 37th year had an album title, it would be “Variations on the Theme of Waiting.” And it would be full of surprising melodic turns, and soft resolutions. The returns on investments I didn’t mean to make have been humbling and bountiful.
I have not been particularly patient; I have mostly indulged in worry over these things. But God chose the timing of several aspects of our homeschool, and the fruit of his wisdom nudges me, not as a rebuke, but as an invitation to wonder at its beauty.
God is always right.
Here are some things he has been right about.
I judged Prospero once. However, this morning when I savagely arose from my bed, hunched from achy sleep, my Caliban shell offered a new knowledge. I am Prospero. Even worse, I am Prospero in a Caliban body (as I struggled to straighten myself). In the style of my teen pupils, I offered my spring apprentice essay on The Tempest to my mentor, harshly judging Prospero and his decision to use magic to manipulate people and his surroundings.
What do classical teachers want from headmasters?
They want both leadership and leeway, although just about every employee wants those things. They want brave administrators who aren’t afraid to discipline the sons and daughters of prominent families, although nepotism and favoritism are a vexation to employees in every line of work. Teachers want good pay and benefits, too, but good pay is a universal human desire. So what classical thing do classical teachers want from headmasters and principals?
From the very beginning, God has ordered our days. In the Creation week, He made the sun to rule the day and the moon to rule the night. He rested on the seventh day, giving us a pattern of work and rest to follow in our own lives. Our calendars have, however, become far more numerous and complicated - work calendars, family calendars, and school calendars now direct how we spend our time. Sadly, the Church calendar is rarely the one setting the rhythm of life, even for Christians.
Survey a number of parents on the most important aspect of a school, and the majority will say “community.” Community is a fashionable word. Everyone talks about building community, being in community, or doing life together. Because man is a political animal, this is perfectly reasonable. Yet, like many trends, the word is often used without a sensible definition. Communities are founded upon something. There is a glue which binds them. Much like bricks without mortar, a people cannot cohere without something holding them together.