What struck me most in reading the book was the role of risk-taking and personal leadership in an organization’s founding phase, and the necessity of consolidating and institutionalizing its vision, so that it outlasts its founders. Such lessons have applicability far beyond the world of furniture.
Why does my third child, my little son whom I mention above, need me to be in physical contact with him while he reads? Because it helps him feel warm and safe, I imagine, and so he is not as afraid of making mistakes. Alternative educators recognized this in the classroom decades ago: that children read better with an adult’s arm around them, or while piled onto soft pillows with a couple of friends.
The children’s pastor made his point about who was serious or not when it came to serving God. He could have closed the service, and I would have been out of time to change my mind and stand before my peers as one who loved God, so I don’t know what compelled him to do what he did next. Maybe he was tired of working with kids.
None of us gets to choose where we land. But if we cannot choose the times in which we live, we can choose how we live in the time we are given. Will we do so thoughtfully or heedlessly? Courageously or cravenly? Honestly and honorably or falsely and deplorably?
The course I am teaching is part of the university’s core curriculum. Core comes from the Latin word for “heart,” I told my students. The same Latin root, cor, gives us the word, courage, I added. Why might the courses at the heart of the university’s curriculum require courage? I inquired. It’s up to us to decide if we have the courage to accept what is challenging, they wrote.
Repeatedly, some of the best students I have taught have been homeschooled. What set them apart was precisely the spirit of bold curiosity that I see in my own kids: that bright light in their eyes, an interest in asking questions and in pursuing rabbit trails independently.
Perhaps people defended the liberal arts to me, and I was too dense to hear, but I truly cannot remember anyone ever setting out a vision for the liberal arts
That with which we fill our time, after all, is what ends up filling our minds, hearts, and souls. More than simply responsible scheduling, our very character is on the line, and that has consequences far beyond the present.
But if our souls are eternal, why do we not then spend more time with things that habituate us to eternity? If our days are short, and the “days are evil,” as St. Paul writes, why do we spend so much time with things that are bad for our souls?
Reading ancient languages requires slow and careful thinking and processing of a sort that we do not normally utilize in our pressure-cooker fast-consumer world.