Vol.1, Issue 5
For This Day
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Phil 4:6-7
Classical and Christian is a unique blend of education that nourishes the mind and the soul. Any separation of the two leads to a life that lacks in the very best of what is possible here on earth. Mrs. Powell takes a look at the education offered by CDA and reminds us of the value in the work we are accomplishing.
Why We Choose Classical, Christian Education Our family vacationed in Melbourne, Florida, this past summer and we took a brief detour on the drive home to visit the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. This zoological park features every living species of crocodile and alligator. The largest alligators are kept in a basin-shaped pit at the center of the park. One of the park’s featured attractions is the twice-daily alligator feeding. When we arrived twenty minutes prior to feeding time, the pit contained dozens of huge alligators lying motionless on the sand or in shallow pools. Although their eyes were mostly open, they seemed like statues. The crowd was thrilled when one huge beast slowly opened its mouth—and left if open for some time.
Once the feeding started, the alligators moved lethargically toward the young trainer who proceeded to throw some hard black pellets at them, squares about the size of a deck of cards. Apparently, all the calories and vitamins required by the alligators were contained in those pellets. I felt rather sorry for these great reptiles. Although the pellets might have nourished their bodies, the “soul” of the alligator—the essence of what it means to be an alligator--seemed unlikely to be satisfied with such a meal. As far back as Socrates, there have been two fundamentally different approaches to educating or “feeding” children. One side believes that education merely transmits the knowledge, traits, and abilities necessary for worldly success. These pragmatists have dominated the educational scene for the past one hundred years, often producing, in the words of columnist David Brooks “shrewd animals” rather than men. C. S. Lewis notes in Mere Christianity that one of the reasons we have trouble in longing for the kingdom of God is that “our whole education tends to fix our minds on this world.” The pragmatic approach fails to nourish the soul of the child by failing to recognize what it means to be truly human.
The second approach to education is the classical and Christian one. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle believed that children should be educated to love “the good” and to pursue lives of virtue. No short term gain was considered worthwhile if it damaged the human soul. Likewise, a Christian education instills a love for the good, the true, and the beautiful with the understanding that goodness reflects the character of God, truth the mind of God, and beauty the glory of God. Interestingly, students trained to seek God’s kingdom are simultaneously better prepared to serve effectively here and now. Lewis also writes, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next…[they] all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.” Classical educators talk about joining in the “Great Conversation” by studying works by history’s greatest poets and philosophers. Two questions at the heart of this conversation are “Who is the good man?” and “What is the good life?” In this Advent season, we prepare to celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ, the good man who lived the good life. And it is in the study of this man and of this life that our children find their true food: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to Me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst” (John 6: 35 ESV).
Moms in Prayer Where: Chapel at Harte House for M/W Moms And the Gazebo for T/Th Moms Contact individuals below for information M/W contact: Leah Clark T/Th contact: Tessa Nownes Coram Deo Café “Encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thess. 5:11) Where: Fireside Room, Grammar Building When: 8:30-9:30am Feb 3 & 4 and March 30 & April 1. Contact information: M/W contact: Jacque Younger T/Th contact: Donna Rector Morning Prayer, Scripture Reading & Bible Studies Scripture Reading and Prayer Contact: Jon Jordan Where: Room 113, grammar school building When: Monday and Tuesday, 7:40-7:50am Who: Parents, students, and faculty are all welcome. 6th and 7th grade Girls Bible Study of James Contact: Alicia Roy Who: CDA students, 6th and 7th grade girls and friends Where: Jeff and Alicia Roy’s home Logic School Boys Bible Study When : Every Other Monday 7:00-8:00pm Contact: Rodney Ashby Where: Jeff and Shelley Vosburg’s home
photograph on cover courtesy of flickr user Andy Morales