Education For Every Age

Imagine a human isolated from anyone not his own age. If that had happened to me, I cannot imagine how I could still be alive.

My grandparents taught me so much. Papaw Shelby was the great story-teller and wit, Papaw Earl was the very model of a gentle man, Nana saw visions of heaven, and Granny built a home from nothing. Imagine being isolated from their wisdom.

At home, education happened every day. Mom taught me to think and Dad showed me absolute integrity. My brother is my best friend and we imagined new ways of doing almost everything. Some of them have come true.

Church was listening to songs from old men that nobody had ever written down and nobody could sing again. They were created before Victoria was Queen of England and sung for the last time just after men landed on the moon. It was also hearing babies cry . . . lots of babies. Dad (my pastor for much of my life) would not send young people out of church, so we were there too. Some of us slouched at the back, but most of us joined into what was happening.

When I went to school, it was the first time almost everyone around me was my age and it was weird: bad weird. My mom saw the problem right away and spent the rest of my childhood trying to make sure that we were not isolated in an artificial bubble of kids our own age.

Just as being around one race is limiting, so being around one age is stunts growth.

Homeschool folk get this problem: many generations of many families meet together. Sadly, most of us have too few people in our community to have real diversity in the ages of the people we meet. There are too few of us . . . families have grown too small and have moved too far apart.

The Saint Constantine School is attacking this problem head on. We refuse to send college students off from the rest of the community as if they were novitiates entering a nunnery. The original colleges were religious orders, but now have become irreligious and disorderly.

The merits of isolation in a Church hierarchy are destroyed in a college program that puts eighteen to twenty-two year olds in an artificial community of people only like self. One cannot be educated in groups that are simply looking into a mirror.

What if, instead, the college student had to learn in the same community with the six year old or the senior citizen? What if the college, the school, and the church were made radically one? What if the living situation was more like real life and less like dorm life?

That is the project of The Saint Constantine School. We think grandparents, parents, college students, junior high students, all students in one place at one time make for a better education. Why? Because education is a human activity for all humankind.

We are not cool, perhaps. A college student might end up gardening with a fifth grader. A senior in high school might correct a college freshman and our grandparents correct us all. We are not cool, because being fully human is never cool.

When you stand in line for communion, then you are equal to everyone. Ahead of you is the wise old woman, the child in his mother’s arms, and then the priest giving all of you God in the bread and wine. This is education.

Any school that does not reflect this totality is merely secular, merely “cool,” merely trendy. Instead, we desire to find the virtue of the middle-aged, the wisdom of the old, the joy of the child, and the integrity of the high school student who despises hypocrisy above all things.

It can be done, God helping us.

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