Last week I wrote in this space about cell phone use among teens. There is a lot to say about it. I can’t get to all of it, but it is a serious enough subject that I will revisit it more than once. There are a great many discouraging trends in our society today, especially among teens, which are beginning to be attributed to addictive smart phone use. Arguably the most concerning trend is the failing mental health of our teenagers.
Anybody else out there think the world has gone mad, or is it just me? Every time I turn around some new (perceived) catastrophe has just unfolded, or some attention-starved person has just done something to separate himself even further from orthodox humanity. All the while, the spectators of these happenings are yelling, “Unprecedented, unprecedented!” Don’t these people know their history? Well no, in fact, they don’t know their history. If they did, they would know that hardly anything is really unprecedented.
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?)
The classical school approach offers a fundamentally different vision of education that families fed up with a factory approach to learning find compelling.
Sarah Eeckhoff Zylstra recently wrote of the exponential growth of the classical Christian school movement. Similarly, John J. Miller, writing for National Review, calls the classical and classical Christian school movements “a small revolution in K-12 education.” What accounts for the growing popularity of these classical and classical Christian schools? Why are so many families opting for a return to an older way of educating their children? Strange as it may seem, I believe a popular Chipotle video helps explain the reasons for the rapid spread of these schools.
A Trinitas board member sent me an interesting article recently, entitled “When Knights Surrender Their Swords, Beasts Will Devour Maidens.” The author, Paul Bois, has written hundreds of articles expositing the Christian perspective on a host of political and social issues. I haven’t read them all, but this one had a solid message.
The subject of the article was this Weinstein fellow who is in so much hot water recently for taking advantage of young women in the movie business. I have little to add to that conversation, but I do want to comment on Bois’s theme. Reduced to its essence, his assertion is that this sort of thing is happening in our society because we allow it.
A quality that is disappearing from the world is the ability to see and understand what lies beneath the surface of an issue. People seem increasingly content to swallow headlines hook, line, and sinker as if the story could be no deeper than the tallest letters in bold print. This sort of naivety is the very thing that makes a people easily manipulated or even oppressed.
The latest edition of The Classical Difference, printed by the Association of Classical Christian Schools just arrived in my mailbox. I haven’t read the whole magazine yet, but I have read the first article by ACCS President David Goodwin in which he laments the dismal state of public discourse in the world today. Midway through the short piece he places the blame on education saying, “We are bringing up children who do not have the skills to engage in intellectual discourse, who believe only in themselves, and whose deepest theological thought originates in their own mind.”
On Father’s Day my pastor used the term “father famine” to describe the lack of fathers and fathering in our culture right now. Even though the truths bound up in this term are familiar to me as a watcher of culture, the term slapped me in the face—it was that shocking. Our culture is truly in the midst of a father famine. And it is not simply that we lack headship in families. No, the problem is much deeper: we don’t even understand what good headship is. We—all of us, the whole culture—have little vision for fathers or fathering.