With increasing frequency I find myself consoling acquaintances whom I find shaking their heads and muttering about the world “going to hell in a handbasket.” In many ways I sympathize with these frustrated folk—look at politics, the media, the government, our Darwinian capitalist machine. One can hardly help wringing one’s hands over the state of the country, even the state of the world. But Christians have been given some instructions about the world, instructions along the lines of taking dominion and baptizing the nations and teaching them to obey Jesus. So let’s dispense with the handwringing, shall we, and get on with the business at hand.
How classical are you? Take this quick quiz and find out!
Spoiler... there is no quiz; though, our recent forays into remote learning might tempt us to think that the work of classical education is as easy as an online quiz. And anyway, if we were to post an online quiz on remote learning, we would be far more interested in responses to the following question:
Has our experiment in remote learning been a success?
And the follow up question:
In what sense has it been successful?
One can imagine our returning to school, thoroughly thanking everyone for participating in this grand experiment, and calling remote learning a smashing success. But will it really have been a success if all we do is complete math lessons and history worksheets? If that is all it takes to constitute a successful classical Christian education, why do we even spend all day at school? Why not just keep the kids home next year and let them work through a history textbook on their own time?
In last week’s post, I discussed the hallmarks of a child ready for kindergarten. If your child isn’t ready, relax, August is still several months away. Or maybe you have a two year old, and you wonder how to begin preparing him so he will be ready for kindergarten. One of you has more time than the other but otherwise the path is the same.
Our board president recommended a book to me recently, and he was really excited about this book. It is common for him to get excited about theology books and such, but this was a book by a politician—not at all common for him to get into a book like that. As it turned out, my family already owned the book. My youngest son had gotten it for his mother a few months ago; he had been so captivated that he read half of it in the bookstore before he bought it. (Is that even legal?)
God has created the world to work in a very ordered way. He is a God of order. He brought order out of nothing—out of chaos if you prefer—to establish a peaceful habitation for humankind. Adam’s job was to maintain God’s order in the garden. When he failed at that, he was cast out of the garden, and the job got a lot harder; nonetheless, as his descendants we inherited the job. God’s people are to maintain order, a God-like order, of God’s creation. It is a hard job. Just look around at the mess we must bring to order. But we were made for it.
Nearly two decades ago a handful of Christian parents decided they wanted a better education for their children than what was available to them. Trinitas Christian School was born out of the initiative they took to solve that problem. All these years later, parents are still making Trinitas what it is. As we leave behind a very busy October, filled with events led and staffed by volunteering parents, and head into a month that will burst at the seams with the theme of thanksgiving, it might be good to pause here and thank parents lest our thanks come across as some mid-November bandwagon theme.
Last week I introduced the term father famine to this blog. The term I have only recently heard from my pastor; the idea the term denotes I have observed for years. The term fitly describes the absence of fathers and fathering in our culture. We have developed cultural amnesia, and one of the things we’ve forgotten, which is key to any culture, is fathering. By “we” I mean western culture generally, but to be more specific, I mean Christians seem to have forgotten the importance of fathering and, therefore, how to father. There is a dark irony in this Christian forgetfulness. The obvious irony is that fathering ought to be on our minds all the time because we speak of and look to God as our Heavenly Father; the subtler irony is that remembering is a predominant theme throughout Scripture.
In Ecclesiastes 4:12 the “preacher” says, “Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Christian parents should apply this concept to the education of their children. When the parents, the church, and the school are all preaching the same message, the result is true education for Christian children—the kind of education that forms virtue and points children in the way they should go (Prov. 22:6). Borrowing a term from the Romans, we can call this “threefold cord” of parents, church, and school an education triumvirate.