It was a gratifying conversation.
I was visiting with a parent of a Regents student a few days back. She described her son’s reading habits which had, until recently at least, included mostly comic books. Regents began a reading program this year that requires our students to read one book per quarter on their own. These books are significant works of literature and essential reading material for a well-educated, thinking Christian. Many of the books – like those of P.G. Wodehouse or Mark Twain – are just plain fun. But all of them have real literary merit and power to inspire, entertain, inform, and transport.
This parent shared with me that she had begun to see her son find real joy in reading, a desire and a delight that had not been there before. I see it in her son. He is a bright boy who loves sports – but who now has also begun to love to read.
I am reminded that these small victories are what teachers and parents strive for. Not every student makes a dramatic or instantaneous turn-around. But students make small strides every day. God has called Christian educators and parents to have a vision for small steps toward the eventual goal of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.
I am reminded that loving books and ideas and the printed and spoken word are at the heart of true education. Classical education is, if anything, a passion for and delight in the word, both spoken and printed. To see that delight cultivated in a young man is a thrill.
I am reminded also that Christian education is intensely personal. Sticking this young man at a table with a book might not accomplish anything, but modeling a love for books and nurturing that love through guiding him toward good books is powerful. Education is essentially relational.
I am reminded also that Christians are people of the word. St. John teaches us that Christ is the Word, and He has called His people to be people of the word. Classical Christian education propels us toward this vision. I am so thankful to see it in action.