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Classical Christian education is Teleological

A teacher who does not teach students to perceive truth in the midst of lies, goodness in the midst of evil, and beauty in the midst of chaos is not worth their salt.

Classical Christian Education is teleological

This series explores part of what I recently shared during teacher training at Providence Preparatory Academy in Wilmington, NC. It presents five principles that guide classical Christian education. You can view the rest of the series here.

A couple of caveats are in order before we begin.

  • First, these principles can be adopted by more than just those teaching in a Classical Christian context. Teachers in other contexts can operate out of them; I know several who do so. (Though it is often far more difficult for them, since the system they work in does not embrace or encourage this approach.)
  • Second, these principles can be adopted by more than just teachers, in the strictest sense of that word. These principles apply to parents, pastors, managers, trainers, pastors, bosses, and more. If you teach anything, consider doing so from this perspective.

Principle 1: Classical Christian education is teleological. It works towards an end: Christ-like wisdom and virtue.

Telos is the Greek word for “end” as in “the end towards which one works.” A teleological education is an education that is going somewhere because it is working towards a specific end-goal.

There was a movement in the mid-late 20th century that advocated for a “value-free” education, one in which students were free from any exposure to particular value systems. This movement has largely been officially abandoned, though most of its notions remain in many school contexts. There are those who still think that you can educate a child without passing along a system of values – that there exists a way to teach something meaningful without declaring certain things good, true, and beautiful.

They are mistaken. A teacher who does not teach students to perceive truth in the midst of lies, goodness in the midst of evil, and beauty in the midst of chaos is not worth their salt.

Classical Christian education has a value system. It declares a telos, and “end-goal” of education: the cultivation of Christ-like wisdom and virtue. An education that does not recognize this as its telos will fall short of the purpose of an education. It may do a really good job of preparing people for careers, or the next stage of learning. But it will not create fully-alive human beings. It can’t, because it doesn’t even try to.

The Dangers of Distracted Parenting
“When it comes to children’s development, parents should worry less about kids’ screen time—and more about their own.”

Yes, and amen, to this Erika Christakis article.

But also, please keep worrying about kids’ screen time too.

Another reason to love ⚽️

The phrase “Iceland defeats Argentina 1-1” makes complete sense.

So far this book has led me to change the way I use social media, but absolutely delete my Google account. 📚

What in the world are these giant birds that just overtook our neighborhood here in Dallas?? 📷

A small procedure (and a few days of uncomfortable recovery …) at an urgent care clinic during a work trip / family vacation last week reminded me of a bizarre week during my stint as a hospital chaplain.

Wilmington, NC

In a one week span during my time as a hospital chaplain I met two families who each had a loved one die on the day of their wedding. Both were unexpected. Much of that week was spent helping those families begin to deal with the grief of death and the grief of changed plans. It was a bizarre week, one that I forgot about until I found myself laying on my side at an urgent care clinic in Wilmington, NC last Saturday.

The fine folks of Providence Preparatory Academy flew me and the family out for a week so that I could speak at their annual teacher training and meet with several of their faculty and board members. Viv and I have been counting down to this trip; it was our first chance to go to the beach with our kids.

The first day of our trip involved two painful flights, a two hour drive, and leading a three hour talk and Q&A session. As I walked to the car to drive home late that night, the pain caught up with me. The next morning I had a very minor procedure done in a very uncomfortable part of my body. (Let’s just say that recovery involved not sitting for the next few days…)

As the doctor shared that this procedure meant that I won’t be able to get near water, I immediately thought of those two families from the hospital. Immediately, there was a change in perspective. It was disappointing news for us to hear, but I don’t think it was as devastating as it could have been if I had never spent time as a chaplain.

Viv was a champion, taking care of essentially three kids that week. We had the time of our life. The teachers responded really well to our time together, and our kids still ate up their time at the beach.

Next time I hope to have a chance to get in the ocean past my knees…

Quitting Google

I have toyed with it in the past, but tonight I finally pulled the plug on my Google account.

I am not naive to how much information other companies (predominantly Apple in my case) know about me. But Google and Facebook are different. They aren’t trying to sell me a product; they are selling me as their product. The data they collect and store is sold to God-knows-who for a number of purposes. (Seriously, sometimes Facebook and Google don’t even know who they are selling to.)

Gmail was great. It streamlined the email process, and provided virtually unlimited storage. Searching for old emails was a breeze. But it also processed every single one of your emails and targeted super-specific ads based on what you read and wrote. And then it started suggesting specific responses to emails. I don’t know why, but that was the last straw for me.

I might live to regret this. I have tried quitting Google once before. Let’s see if it doesn’t stick this time.

Using Google Takeout and Facebook’s data exporter to download all my info before deleting accounts from both companies.

This is how you spend the opening hours of Father’s Day weekend!