May 1, 2024

Come to the Feast!

Your Child’s Education

The world of learning should be like a feast lavishly spread on a long table. The guest list includes thinkers, writers, and creators whose works have withstood the test of time. The menu includes a delightful sampling of those ideas and works. At Schola, it is our desire to offer this feast—and your children are invited!

The educator’s job is to facilitate introductions between students and great authors, musicians, artists, and scientists, just like a good hostess facilitates introductions between her guests. Is your child’s education like a feast? Or is it more like a multi-vitamin?

When viewed as a vitamin, a child’s education centers on making sure students “ingest” the recommended percentage of various subjects typically covered and course titles needed for a high school transcript. The graduating student may (or may not) have a head full of unconnected facts. With this approach, there is a danger that education becomes more about checking off boxes than offering an abundance of worthy ideas and works by which students are nourished and delighted.

When viewed as a feast, a child’s education consists of rich encounters with good and true and beautiful things that last. The teacher’s role is to stage those encounters, making introductions and highlighting connections. The graduating student has explored the general contours as well as the intersections of many fields of endeavor and has been invited to converse with others about them. The student has been encouraged to linger over a feast of ideas.

But why does this feast of ideas seem to favor “old things”? Isn’t “new and improved” always better? 

 “Old things” have stood the test of time. This feast of ideas tells us something important about who we are. It tells us things that are true and beautiful.  And it tells us things that are worth remembering.

At a feast, we meet others who have shared our own experiences. We are all human, even though we may come from different places or time periods. (I’m so glad to finally meet you, Mr. Shakespeare. I just saw one of your works performed last week. You seemed to understand my life even though I’m much younger than you!)

At a feast, we may find ourselves mingling with others we wouldn’t ordinarily choose to get to know—only to find that we have more in common than we realized. (I’m so glad we had this time to get to know each other, Euclid. I didn’t realize geometry was so relevant!) Or we may discover that our different perspective is the very thing that makes our conversation so fruitful and interesting. (Herr Bach, the music you played tonight truly moved me. I never knew organ music could be so beautiful!)

At a feast, the more people we meet, the more connections we may discover with other guests. After all, the “Great Conversation” was going on for centuries before we ever joined in. (“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Giotto. I had no idea you knew my friend Dante. Did you two spend time talking about the final judgment? I see such similar ideas in your paintings and Dante’s writing!”)

At a feast, we may meet someone who changes our life forever. Each introduction is a divine appointment.  (“Pastor Calvin, your writings about the Christian faith have a freshness that truly deepened my walk of faith.”)

Meeting new people can be hard work for many of us. We must broaden our vision, consider new ideas, and recognize our own shortcomings. How fortunate is the one who has a friend or mentor to ease the way into these first encounters with new people and ideas. The more we practice learning to love things that last, the better we become at taking our place in the Great Conversation.

The multi-vitamin has its place. But won’t you come join the feast?