Monday, December 29, 2014

Some things to consider

For a few months now I haven't been able to read as much as I normally do (early pregnancy will do that to you). But, thankfully, I've recently begun to be able to start back in again. I got my hands on a copy of Consider This by Karen Glass, and I also won a copy of The Liberal Arts Tradition by Kevin Clark and Ravi Scott Jain from Kortney's giveaway (thank you Kortney!) 

I haven't finished with them yet, but I've begun to see something with these readings that I hadn't been able to see before, so this post is an attempt to clarify and refine my thoughts. 

I think I was first attracted to classical education because of the fact that the main goal of educating in this way is to cultivate virtue in the student. What mother doesn't want virtuous kids? My thought process went something like this - if I want my children to be virtuous, and educating them classically will cultivate virtue, then classical education is what we need to be doing here. 

Classical education is great. I think it is a good thing. Virtue is a good thing. Right thinking and right action is always a good thing. 

But these good things are not the end. There is something I've been missing that all the good things in the world cannot make up for and cannot replace. And this missing something is the one "good thing" that I myself cannot give to anyone, not even to my own children. 

All the right thinking, all the right acting, all the virtue in the world becomes futile if this missing piece is not there. 

Relationship. Not with family, not with parents, not with children, not with my neighbor. No, relationship with God must be first and foremost before virtue can take its rightful place. 

Because what does virtue matter really, if I act in a virtuous manner from the wrong motivation? If I behave in a moral way because "it's the right thing to do" or because I'm trying to follow the rules or keep up appearances or, or, or... There are many many reasons to follow the correct moral code, and in so doing a person will appear to be full of virtue. But without the direct, personal relationship with Jesus Christ, none of it matters. 

Like St. Paul says, 
if I have not love, it profits me nothing. 
Relationship with Christ is the only genuine way to come to virtue. When we love Him and cultivate that relationship, we are moved to behave in a virtuous manner out of love for Him. We will desire to pray, and to fast and to give alms, because we love Him and those things will bring us ever closer to Him. We behave in such a way as to please Him to the best of our ability because we want to do everything for Him. If we have a deep and real relationship with Christ, it doesn't matter anymore what others think or whether or not they approve of our actions. Only His approval matters and we seek it diligently.

But relationship with anyone, and most especially with God, cannot be given by me to my children. It must be individual and personal. It is not up to me to save my children. Even though their salvation, of all the good things in the world, is the one thing I desire more than any other, it is also the one thing I can never give them. I thank God that He loves my children more than I can love them. He desires their salvation even more than I do.

So I can do my best to educate my children classically. I can try my hardest to help them on the path to right thinking and right action. I can model for them and behave as the kind of person I want them to become, and I should continue to do those things because they all help to shape and aim their loves. I can sow and cultivate and tend the fields, but I need to remember that the harvest depends on God. And that means that my most important resource is prayer.

Not only does prayer for my children help them by my asking God to have mercy on them, but it also changes me - my relationship with Him becomes deeper and stronger. My relationship with Christ can become an example for my children to follow and to imitate. If I choose the one thing needful first and foremost, then I can release the burden I thought I had to take on my shoulders. It was never my burden to bear but, like the problem-solver that I am, I thought it was mine. I thought it was mine, and so I took it on myself and began trying to figure out which path to take, which formula to follow, which plan to execute in order to successfully complete what I thought I was supposed to do.

But, thank God, it is not my burden. My only task, as it were, is to see to it that I am the best example I can be for my children and to leave the rest to God. His love is boundless and His power infinite. He will do what I cannot in a better way than I can even conceive of, and I can rest in Him, knowing that my job is to use wisely the tools I've been given, and He will see to the outcome.

Glory to God!



  1. Beautifully put and so true! Thanks Lisa!

  2. As I have gotten older I have become a more lead by example parent and less of a disciplinarian. Great post...and truly the essence of why I homeschool.

  3. Oh, and congratulations on your pregnancy...did I miss that in an earlier post? wonderful!

    1. Thank you! No, I didn't announce it really, so you didn't miss anything. :)

      I am glad you think I'm on the right track with what I'm saying - it's good to get that kind of confirmation from someone who's been at this longer than I have.


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