Today begins Catholic Schools Week. Making faith a priority is one of the great goals at St. Mary Catholic School. We are blessed to have a Catholic School, but merely having a school, putting the name ‘Catholic’ on the sign, and having religion classes is where so many schools stop. The question St. Mary Catholic School seeks to ask itself is: What does it mean to be a faithful Catholic Christian in today’s world? This year – with the blessing of Archbishop Coakley – St. Mary Catholic School began a gradual transition to a classical education.
The problem is there are not many people alive today who have truly had what one can call a classical education. When I open up The Oklahoman newspaper or read any other publication there are so many complaints – a litany actually – of how our schools are failing our children. Test scores lag, but can education really be measured just by test scores as one does quality assurance tests on consumer products? To measure the success of education it is necessary to look at the lived life of former students. The sad news of even our secular press and media are that we are more divided, angry, anxious, bitter, and more dis-united than ever. Crime in cities is at record rates. In the past fifty years the growth of prisons can’t keep up with the number of people we lock up for crimes. Large and growing numbers of each generation’s youth become addicted to drugs and alcohol in greater numbers. Divorce, family dissolution, lack of financial savings or discipline, and the list could go on and on. Is the answer to throw more money at education? Is the answer to have more computers in the classroom? Where are the problem solvers of yesterday?
What we need today are the likes of the people who founded our country, who sought to re-unify a fractured nation after the civil war, who built up our country. Where are these people? Well, they are you and me. The problem is our culture desires not thinkers but consumers. We are seen in economic numbers. We are just parts of the machine of society. We are expected to spend our paychecks. Sadly there are so few thinkers out there, so many of us are those swayed by advertising, social media, and the popular culture. A classical education gives a person the ability to see through the false narratives and get at reality. A classical education is about the pursuit of the true, beautiful, and the good.
I ask a favor of you in this Catholic Schools Week. Would you watch an hour and fifteen minute video from a presentation at our own St. Mary Catholic School a few months ago by Mr. Andrew Pudewa? I promise it will blow your mind at what we have all missed in education. But it is not too late to begin to instill a classical education into our children so they can be the thinkers and true problem solvers of tomorrow. Please watch it even if you have no children. Every one of us can learn and grow from what Mr. Pudewa presents. The YouTube video is at the top of this article.
Even if you think it is over your head, please stick with it and watch it. Let yourself be challenged by truth, beauty, and goodness. Let us get about the business of healing our dis-eased and dis-unified world! -Fr. W.