In my years as a headmaster, I had hopes of making every child understand the ideas of the West, and live out the good, the true, and the beautiful ones. Some did. But others did not. Looking back, more than any idea we taught, the family made all the difference. Families that live out Christian ideas in their home — confessed sin, repentance, right purposes, right work ethics, hierarchical relationships, true Christian love, and the list goes on — passed on to their child a value we cannot fully form at school.
Unfortunately, many well meaning families lived out ideas that they thought were Christian, but were really just sentiments passed from our culture or their own upbringing. So, it wasn’t always the beliefs or faithfulness of the family that seemed to make the biggest difference. Ideas — both bad and good — have consequences. Often, it was the alignment of the family’s commitment to those ideas firmly held in the culture of the home, aligned with tradition, scripture, and theology that made the difference.
This is what the medievals called “memory.” Memory is not just the knowledge, but the understanding and wisdom passed from generation to generation. Ideas matter because, as we examine them, they affect us. This can be avoided for a time after graduation. But I have known ACCS students who drifted from the Christian ideas we taught, and returned to them later as a compass that could right their path.
The ideas we’ve presented here may seem too big for practice. Kings? Priests? Republics? But remember, ideas are like water — they find their way into everything. How does a father run his home? As a dictator? As a slave? Or as a Christian leader? What does a mother teach about Scripture to her 7-year-old? It might be different if she sees her daughter as a future priest. What type of church do you seek? One that teaches Truth, practices Goodness, and reflects the Beauty of God’s highness in worship? Our discussions here were brief. We can only encourage you to drink deeply from the well of Western Christian ideas. I hope satisfaction will come as you abandon the brackish, sulfur-laden shallows of our modern culture.
David Goodwin, President of the ACCS