As our school grows and time passes, more of our students are moving into the Logic Phase of the Trivium. In light of current relativistic cultural trends which see man's personal desires as autonomous, and truth as a shape-shifting thespian, we have a key job as educators and parents to give our kids the tools they need to apply universal moral standards to today's ideas. We have to show them how to judge between right and wrong. If a new, controversial law is passed, will they be able to point effectively to a fixed standard of truth that is applicable? Or will they wave their hands despairingly, get shrill, and have nothing much to say?
But today, "right" and "wrong" are strange words. What can they really mean? And who's to say? Surely you aren't telling me that I must conform to your personal beliefs? You're free to believe what you like -- you have a right to your outmoded religious convictions -- but keep them out of the public square. Keep them away from my personal choices.
So this is a tricky business. The Logic Phase should not teach the lofty art of ramming dogma down disagreeing throats. As an obvious but crucial caveat, unless we teach our children to generously sprinkle their arguments with love, mix them with a few handfuls of minced pride, and bake them with bellies full of laughter, all the perfect syllogisms and proofs they can muster will fly back into their faces, like spitting into the wind. As someone once said, "There is a deeper right than being right."
So we are beginning to give our children tools of argument and debate. But as any good carpenter knows, sharp tools in unskilled hands just lead to a bloody mess.
Grace and Peace, Nate Ahern