You Catch More Flies With Honey Than Vinegar, But Get Real

“When teachers and parents disagree, it’s rarely goals they disagree on. It’s the means of achieving those goals. St. Paul teaches, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” We all want a harvest of righteousness, but what unpleasant things are we willing to endure that we might get to it?

The dream of a sentimental age—which ours mostly certainly is—is that discipline doesn’t have to be unpleasant. We believe there’s a way around the unpleasantness of discipline. If authority figures are just warm and encouraging and nice enough, they won’t have to make anyone’s life really difficult. The unpleasantness of discipline was a convention of some antiquated cruel and patriarchal age, but we have finally realized that niceness is the real key to righteousness. After all, “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar,” which means we can reorder affections without hurting feelings, correct without punishment, prune without cutting, operate without incisions, crucify the passions without a cross.”

-from my latest for CiRCE

On Senior Theses

“The Poetic Age is popularly known as the “ difficult ” age. It is self-centred; it yearns to express itself; it rather specialises in being misunderstood ; it is restless and tries to achieve independence ; and, with good luck and good guidance, it should show the beginnings of creativeness, a reaching-out towards a synthesis- of what it already”

-from “The Lost Tools of Learning”

And this is the primary reason why classical Christian schools have seniors write theses. Apart from Sayers’s theory of stages, there is no way of justifying a senior thesis project.

A Short Introduction To Classical Christian Education: Excerpt

“A classical Christian school is not “classical and Christian.” Rather, classical Christianity is a fundamentally different sort of Christianity than is referred to in contemporary terms like “Christian radio” or “Christian fiction.” The two sorts of Christianity have little in common. Classical Christianity is not a version of “Christianity.” It’s the other way around. The sort of Christianity suggested by “Christian radio” and “Christian fiction” is a cheap, commodified version of classical Christianity.”

-from the forthcoming “A Short Introduction to Classical Christian Education” (March 2023)