I've been reading an excellent book entitled, When Athens Met Jerusalem: An Introduction to Classical and Christian Thought, by John Mark Reynolds, Provost at Houston Baptist University. Reynolds' thesis is that reason and faith need to remain good neighbors within the City/Kingdom of God, for this pairing of the two is what true classical Christian education is.
But (and here's the rub), it's difficult and takes work. He writes:
"Thinking may be hard at first, but it is addictive with practice. People created in God's image will ask questions, and questions demand answers. Answers seem to be what questions are for, but the Greeks soon realized that the first answers are not the end of the process. Good answers lead to better questions, and these questions keep the process of learning alive. It is possible to find a single truth, but one truth has a tendency to lead to the search for another, just as eating one honest-to-goodness potato chip generally demands a second. People began to question the old answers, sometimes finding them satisfying, sometimes not."
As we're one week away from school ending and summer beginning, it might be a good idea - both for us and for our students - to think about how we might continue the question-asking and answer-seeking to keep the process of learning alive.
While we all are ready for a respite, classical Christian education calls us to make sure it's only that - a respite. There are too many questions to be asked, too many answers to be sought!
What book(s) are we thinking of reading this summer? What documentaries are we thinking of watching? What journaling are we thinking of doing? What field trips are we planning? What museums are we visiting? What parts of nature are we exploring? What conversations are we hoping to have? What subjects are we wanting to study? And who might be able and willing to help us with any of this?
I realize that next week is probably not the week to get all this down on paper...but the week after might be! And I'm not advocating a schedule that resembles the school year, but I'm not advocating a vacation to Slug Island either. Many of us have as much to do across summer as the rest of the year, but that doesn't mean we can't fight for some time to ask ourselves what answers we're finding satisfying, and what answers we aren't.
Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." Let's make sure this can't be said about our upcoming summer, either for our student(s) or for ourselves. If there's anything I can do to help you and your family avoid this, please let me know.
One more week. Finish well!