Whenever I start a new project, I almost always start with the same question: why does this matter and what matters about it? Whenever I’m about to do anything particularly important, I find that first answering this question correctly ensures that, whatever mistakes may follow, I’m on the right track.
Over the last few years I’ve most often asked myself this question about different areas of one giant subject: what matters about education?
It is easy to see how modern trends have answered this question in various ways. Why does education matter? So that you can get a good job, or go to the college or your choice. What matters about it? High test scores, training in certain skill sets, learning how to be a part of large groups of people all doing the same thing. And these are good answers insofar as they go, but I’d also like to assert some answers of my own.
Education matters because education is nothing less than the care and formation of a human soul. It is the shaping of character, the development of the mind, and the cultivation of right affections. If these things are why education matters, than the answer to the next question comes a bit easier. What matters about education are the tools, environments, and practices that will help us form the soul toward a good character, a strong mind, and right affections. Everything else is either a bonus or a distraction.
Five months ago I was asked to leave a job I was passionate about and students I love to try to build something new in Houston. There is almost nothing that would have pulled me away from where I was, but the vision for The Saint Constantine School is so compelling and so good, and I know enough students to know how needed it is.
One year from now we will open our doors to our first class of students. My commitment to those students is that they will come to a school that is joyful, kind, meaningful, and rich; a school that is most interested in the formation of their soul and the cultivation of their mind. And I can’t wait.