Benedict Option education

Rod Dreher recommends that parents pull their children out of public schools and either homeschool them or enrol them in classical Christian academies. To most people, this probably seems too radical. However, one of the points from the previous chapter is that your children’s peer group has an enormous influence on the development of their character.

Here I address the ‘conservatives’, the orthodox who adhere to biblical and traditional Christianity, whether Protestant, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox (that is, the people for whom Dreher wrote this book): Do you want your children going to a school where their peer group includes children in grade 5 accessing pornography on their smart phones? Or where 1/3 of the girls in their middle school homeroom see themselves as bisexual? Or where the sexual revolution is taking over sex ed, going beyond the basics of biology to the creation of gender identities?

Also, and this is far more central to Dreher’s point in this chapter, do you want your children to grow up formed in the image and likeness of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? Do you want to see children who see all of knowledge as an integrated reality founded upon the Holy and Undivided Trinity? Do you want the Bible to be fully integrated into their thought life? That is, do you want your children to truly be educated, in the classical and medieval sense, as those in Benedictine schools (such as Bec where St Anselm taught) were?

Moreover, do you want your children to at least be, frankly, educated in any meaningful sense? As in, do you want them to learn critical thinking skills? To learn logic and dialectic? To have a grasp of the roots of western society and culture? To be able to write in cursive? To not simply be given ‘subjects’ as mere data (for no such thing as mere data exists)? To be freed from a system that is more concerned with socialisation than education?

For the latter two paragraphs, you could potentially supplement their public school education. For the first paragraph, pull them out. Now.

I want my son to grow into a compassionate, loving man who is committed to historic orthodoxy. I have rich doubts that the current public school system will only hinder that goal.

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