Stratford Caldecott’s 160-page new book Beauty in the Word has proven difficult for me to finish, and I mean that as a sincere compliment.
Far from a simple (and all-too-familiar) regurgitation of the Trivium as three “stages” of learning that corresponds to natural child development, Caldecott’s work examines the Trivium in more human terms – as Remembering, Thinking, and Communicating.
He argues that “education is not primarily about the acquisition of information. It is not even about the acquisition of ‘skills’ in the conventional sense, to equip us for particular roles in society. It is about how we become more human (and therefore more free, in the truest sense of that word)…Too often we have not been educating our humanity. We have been educating ourselves for doing rather than for being.” His exploration of the Trivium in that light is truly inspiring.
Beauty in the Word is an inspiring, challenging and even convicting book. Perhaps that’s why it has proven so difficult to finish. Stratford Caldecott has done us a great service. It’s my hope that Beauty in the Word will be widely, but slowly, read by many others.