Those Trips to the Woodshed


There are two kinds of education.  Or if you prefer, two battle plans.  One pursues results, the other seeks wisdom.  The one is a ticking time bomb, and the other is the only way to a truly educated person.

Bear with me, though -- this isn't a false dichotomy.  You can go wrong (and right) in many other ways than being "results-oriented" on the one hand, and pursuing wisdom on the other.  And you'd also be right to say that we should be results-oriented.

To a point.

Let me put it this way.  Classical Christian schools are not the ticket to Harvard, or to Heaven.  They're not the ticket to having a nice degree from a solid, middle-pack university, a slick career, and a godly family.  They don't magically produce interested, respectful kids who do the dishes without being asked.

In fact, it's much more likely that Classical Christian schools will do just the opposite -- if their priorities are off.  And one of the biggest oversights they can make -- that ACA can make -- is to be results-oriented at all costs, over against the pursuit of wisdom.

When students hear the words "results," "scores," "grades," and "college admissions," and all they see in their minds' eyes is a gnarly metaphorical club, there's a problem.  They've been taken out to the woodshed one too many times to get thrashed with Bible memory verses, math drills, and SAT prep.  Sure, they're nailing their grades, they know their atomic orbitals, their Plato and Homer, and what the Ten Commandments say.  But boy, when they get outta this house, they're going to do something different in college.  They've paid their Western-Culture dues.  Check classical education off the list.

Maybe even check Christianity off the list.

We should want our children to fill all sorts of colleges and universities in the country, from the local community colleges to the Ivies.  We should want them to fill a wide variety of careers -- even the ones that weren't in our plans for them.  And this all takes a ton of hard work. Lots of drills.  Lots of grit, stamina, and just plan results.

But here's the key: that's not the end of the story.  We want our children to see why they're going for the results. All their work is so that they can start serious education once they leave the home, and continue it throughout their lives.  The results they accomplish are to make them into men and women of action for God's glory, to bring his kingdom to earth.  There are battles to fight out there, and they won't be won by kids who have scars, and a premature skepticism.  They'll be won by children blessed with the gift of wisdom and with the open eyes of thankfulness.

Grace and Peace, Nate Ahern