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Plutarch Does it Again

Election years are always emotional in our homeschool. When we lived in New Jersey we took 3 months to campaign rigorously for Brett Schundler, the Republican candidate for governor abandoned by the Republican machine of that state. It was heartbreaking. Needless to say last night was another heart-breaker. I was tempted to crawl in a hole with some cheap strawberry wine AND some expensive chocolate this morning but since I am a mother and a teacher I didn’t have that option. Instead I took a deep breath and called the kids to Morning Time. I am so happy now that I did that because once again the miracle of the liberal arts powered by the truths of God transformed our home and left in the wake of disappointment a harvest of wisdom made tangible.

The first bit of encouragement came as my daughter could not pull herself away from the Facebook and Twitter statuses of people who had voted for Obama. Over and over again she read of people praising Obama for the ‘stuff’ that was coming their way. I had never seen my calm daughter so upset. I encouraged her to stop reading the statuses and I picked up the Bible to read the verses we are memorizing and suddenly they became very real to us all.

Psalm 27:1-5 “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the evildoers assail me to eat up by flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me , my heart shall not fear; though war rise against me yet I will be confident. One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will life me high upon a rock.”

As we finished up the Bible I moved on to Plutarch as I do each morning. I said to the kids, “Let’s just see what Plutarch has to say about all of this,” not knowing that he really did have something to say to us this morning from across the span of 1900 years. Truly there is no new thing under the sun. If our students understood this one thing we would not have to wonder what would happen under varying circumstances. Ideas have consequences and they always have. This is why nothing in education trumps the liberal arts. Here we have a paragraph about Pericles from Plutarch:

Since Thucydides describes the rule of Pericles as an aristocratical government, that went by the name of a democracy, but was, indeed, the supremacy of a single great man, while many others say, on the contrary, that by him the common people were first encouraged and led on to such evils as appropriations of subject territory; allowances for attending theatres, payments for performing public duties, and by these bad habits were, under the influence of his public measures, changed from a sober, thrifty people, that maintained themselves by their own labors, to lovers of expense, intemperance, and license, let us examine the cause of this change by the actual matters of fact.”

You just can’t make this stuff up. This story is not unusual in our home. It happens all the time when I am faithful to put aside my own preaching and lead my children to the cleaner, clearer waters of those who have gone before. I don’t have to remind you what happens when we fail to do this.

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