Beauty For Thy House Hath Consumed Me… Why Beauty Matters In Classical Education.

Mar 11, 2022A Year in the Life of Opening a Classical Orthodox School-Reflections

Charlotte's Web - Chrysostom AcademyWe live in a fallen world⎯a world full of pain, sorrow, and death. Yet, we also live in a world that is beautiful, full of wonder and imagination. If only we had the common sense to stop and observe. Because of these conflicting realities, each one of us is presented with a choice. Oddly, it is the vulgar, the macabre, and the ugly which often win our attention, much like a leaking faucet or a flat tire. Problems always trump our sensibilities, causing us to lose focus and, sometimes, hope.

But, beauty is constant. A beautiful thing will always be beautiful, regardless of whether we recognize it or not. Flowers bloom, the sun rises and sets, the mist rises off the mountains day in, day out, and they will do so until time ceases to be.

As humans, we have a duty and an obligation to ponder beautiful things. This is precisely because our world can be so ugly. As parents, teachers, and leaders, we have a choice when raising our children to glorify the mundane or to embrace permanent things. In a classical school, children read literature, wrestle with numbers, and observe nature precisely to see the beautiful things in them. Sometimes this is done by pointing out the opposite. For instance, one character’s virtue versus another character’s vice. Sometimes it is seeing the beauty in changing seasons⎯the spring gives way to the summer and her balmy days, which when tired, calm down and slumber during the fall and winter. Other times, students watch the miracle of life when a seed they planted sprouts into a living plant, whose purpose is to give glory to God and sustenance to us. In our techno-focused world, seeing a plant cycle through its life stages in a video pales in comparison to watching it in person. Classically educated children are immersed in reality every single day they are in school. They sing with Wilber and Charlotte when she weaves her web, they ponder the cold in the painting Hunters at Dawn, they wonder what the psalmist means when he writes, Have mercy on me o God, according to Thy great mercy. In short, they are constantly observing the world around them, seeking to discover her beauty, her mystery, and her purpose. This process is more important and relevant now than ever.

Beauty for Thy House hath consumed me! Join us in our quest to discover, understand, and embrace the beautiful things in the world. Our doing so may be the most fundamental thing we can do as humans.