One thing I love about summer is that it gives me more time for reflection on things other than how to help students understand England’s 18th century mercantilist economic system and how it helped bring about the American Revolution and how will I get these history tests graded over the weekend. I’ve just finished reading a book called Life Under Compulsion: Ten Ways to Destroy the Humanity of Your Child by Anthony Esolen which has given me lots of food for thought. (It’s the book our faculty will be reading and discussing together during the next school year.) It highlights an idea dear to our hearts at Imago: the importance of having a right understanding of the humanity, or humanness, of the students we teach.
A question sometimes asked of us is whether a classical Christian education can equip students for life in the real world. Implied in the question is the thought that classical education is old-fashioned and not relevant enough for children living in the modern world. Our belief and the contention of Esolen’s book is that those who would make such a charge do not have a full enough view of reality or of humanity. Yes, students need to be equipped to be good citizens and to make a living and to deal with the problems of life in an imperfect world, but classical Christian schools see this as a rather narrow view of reality. We do work to hone the skills that God has given our students so that they can work for the common good in this world, but we also seek to ground them in a fuller view of reality, one which distinguishes between permanent things and impermanent things, things which pass away and things that last forever. Our goal to expose them to Truth, Goodness, and Beauty comes from our understanding that these are aspects of reality which will last forever and our belief that humans were made to be nourished by the knowledge of these things. People living in pre-modern times took these ideas for granted.
We seek to prepare students for a full life in this world and in the world to come. Esolen argues that seeking after Truth, Goodness, and Beauty liberates us: “Virtue liberates; vice enslaves.” He says, “Chasing after truth is to a child’s mind what good food and fresh air and exercise are to a child’s body. It makes the mind strong and supple. But the purpose of the chase is the catch, and a strong mind enjoying a perceived truth is ready to flex its muscles and find more…This is true of matters of fact but far truer of matters of value: of goodness and beauty.” Watching a student chase and catch a truth makes a classical Christian teacher’s day!
When not reading and reflecting or traveling and enjoying the beauty of God’s world we’re preparing for another school year. As always we appreciate your prayers for us.
Thank God with us for:
His faithful provision of the people to do this work; especially new people helping in the office and a new 5th-6th grade teacher;
God’s provision of the funds to get through last year;
Inquiries and several new families joining us for this coming year.
More new families for the year ahead;
Our Board and wisdom for them in their role of leading the school;
Funds to enable us to provide financial aid to families who need it and to meet the expenses of the school;
Safety and good health for all our teachers and staff;
Continued good relations with our landlords at St. Bridget’s Church.
Your interest in and support for the school mean a great deal to us. We see you as standing with us against the tendency to reduce and constrict our humanity and the humanity of our children.