Classical Ed. in Action


For years I've railed against the "rules." I don't like breaking the rules (although I have done that) but as a teenager, all I heard was the "don't's." Don't drink, don't smoke, don't..etc. I just thought, "Ok! But what do I do?" In other words, how am I supposed to live then? What is my purpose?

I've read before that the human brain doesn't actually compute a negative command (and I found this article which basically says what I'm thinking). So when we tell our kids not to do something, that's what they do.

And I recently read Lewis's sermon "The Weight of Glory." His opening lines state the modern man describes the greatest Christian virtue as "Unselfishness," but the early Christians would have said "love." Another example of the negatives and positives. So I've been thinking about modifying my language with the kids and try to speak positives instead of negative commands. "Walk" instead of "don't run." Things like that. It gets harder the more you try, but it's one of the things I'm working on.

All of this got me thinking about Jesus's commands. His commands were fairly simple and were not negative, right? "Love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself." This is when my thoughts went on a wild enlightening ride toward classical education.

Classical Christian education teaches how to love. How to live as Jesus commands. It forces big thoughts, hard practices, and other people down our throats and into our heads and into our hearts to the point that we suddenly can love them.

In logic, we are taught to embrace the opposing ideas before we reject them. In literature, we are taught to simply accept or receive what the author is trying to get across before we are allowed to interject our own thoughts or ideas. All because you can't really prove an idea false until you have entertained all the reasons it is true. In Greek and Latin, we are taught the hard discipline that our minds can actually come under our control. In the memory work, we are taught the memories of our culture and given a much wider realm of experience than simply our own growing up years. All of those experiences teach us to love our fellow man because we see him as ourselves. We aren't islands, separated by evolutionary or technological improvements. We are one humanity.

And since we naturally love ourselves, even when we are also hating ourselves, our love grows to include humanity. We learn to love humanity because we are made in the Image of the God, and even though we are broken, He still loves us. Lewis talks about this too in his sermon; he says, "We have never met a mere mortal." We've only ever met image-bearers of the Most High God.

Our children are some of these too. These image-bearers that we have been tasked with teaching to love. That's it. We need to teach them to love. And what does love do? It takes us outside of ourselves, with eyes to see and ears to hear and hearts to acknowledge that these people are part of ourselves. We are one in our humanity.

What's even more mind-boggling is that the Most High God came down to become one with us in humanity! He is God in the Image of man in the Image of God!

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