Skip To Main Content
A Multi-Generational Project
  • Community
  • Formation
Justin Novotny
Over the past few years at TSCS, I have seen many parents take up disciplines that most adults seem to abandon. I’ve seen parents relearning Trigonometry and learning to read Greek and Latin. Last year, I spotted a parent of one of my students walking around with a volume of James Joyceand then another with Dostoevsky.

I always find this remarkable. But when I stop to consider, it makes perfect sense. After several years in our corner of the world of education, I have come to believe that if classical, Christian learning is to have a lasting impact, it must be a multi-generational project.

This is true for a number of reasons. Most obviously, kids are extremely perceptive, and they sense what we truly value. I have taught at schools in which "Classical Education" was primarily a means of shielding students from undesirable curriculums and influences. These schools may have been successful in that goal, but they certainly did not convince their students that reading great books matters. It seems to me that the only way to persuade students of this is to let them see their teachers and parents also reading great books, free of coercion.

Second, I cannot escape the conclusion that, for many of us, our attention spans and tastes have been ruined by the collision of addictive technology, popular entertainment, and modern education. The road of course-correction will take multiple generations to travel. For example, like many Americans my age, my musical tastes were shaped almost exclusively by popular music and MTV. Recently, my six-year-old son, under the direction of our excellent music staff, came home using musical terminology that my wife and I had never heard of. We now look forward to learning alongside him as he pursues his interest in music.

As I have worked over the years to broaden my education beyond what I received in my youth, I often look on scholars from previous centuries with a mixture of admiration, awe, and despair. How, for example, did Tolkien find the time and energy to learn over twenty languages, when I struggle to find the head space to think deeply about much of anything? It heartens me to see my studentsand my own childrenmaking connections and wrestling with ideas decades before I reached those milestones.

There is cause for hope. We can start always somewhere. Why not start with the books and subjects our kids are studying?