From your south campus principal, Grant Bickell
“One’s duty is to feel what is great, cherish the beautiful, and not accept all the conventions of society with the ignominy that it imposes upon us.” ~ Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary
In logic classes, we teach students that it’s better to define things for what they are rather than for what they are not. We do this partly because it easier to describe what something is not. Today I will give a defense for and definition of beauty. Let’s start with what kind of beauty we mean. When I say beauty, I refer to the last of our three transcendentals, the True, the Good, and the Beautiful. Transcendental beauty. True and Good beauty. The wonder of true beauty unfolds before us like a triptych and once all three “pictures” of truth, goodness, and beauty are seen we can finally begin to understand the aim of classical education.
In classical education, we teach that there is objective beauty. There are things that are beautiful and things that are not. Objective beauty is calling beautiful that which God has called beautiful. Subjective beauty is allowing each individual to decide what they think beauty is. The realm of beauty certainly contains those things that give you goosebumps when you come into their presence: Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, Michelangelo’s David, Caravaggio’s Conversion on the Way to Damascus, Bernini’s marble masterpieces, fields of wheat waving in the wind… but it is more than that. The list of what is objectively beautiful seems to me an endless supply of things that point us to glorifying our Creator. Suffice it to say that we know them when we encounter them, but we do not define their beauty, their beauty is innate.
If Plato (roughly) said “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” then we say beauty is in the eye of The Creator. We stand in contrast to our ancient and modern friends that tell us that we, as individuals, get to decide that which is beautiful. Beauty is of God. Beauty is God. By the nature of being considered a transcendental, beauty transcends our norms and our current feelings towards anything. It is easy to wrap our minds around truth being objective but for some reason we often struggle to accept the same of beauty.
Consider with me the blessing it is to our students for us to lay the foundation of what true beauty is.. Our beauty and our value do not come from the way we look, they are innate within every human because we were made as the capstone of creation. We are made in the imago dei, the image of God. This image is imprinted on us. God’s beauty is imprinted on us.
Think on what God tells Samuel, “For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” As families seeking to train our kids in the faith we often focus on what is true, take some time this week to focus on what is beautiful by meeting your students where they are and together seeking out things that point you towards the heavenly realm and to God Himself. A good place to start is with this list from Philippians, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Special Note: All 6th grade families are invited to our 6th grade check-in this coming Monday. Join us for a time of encouragement, prayer, and tips for how to help your 6th grader be successful at The Academy.
Next Few Weeks:
Individual Pictures – Larch Family Portraits has asked that all picture orders be returned by September 24. All forms turned in after the 24 will be assessed a $10 fee.
House Verse – This month we are memorizing Galatians 5:22-23 as part of our yearly study on the Fruit of the Spirit. If they memorize it and recite it to Mr. Bickell, they will receive 5 House Points.