We Don’t Need No Education

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Pink Floyd’s famous song has always irked me. It’s not just because this was the cult favorite for those classmates of mine in the 80s who sort of scared me with their big hair, black tee shirts and faint wafting aroma of Mary Jane. But it was also because it was just such a dumb lyric. Yes, I get the irony. But, clearly, with all the double-negatives, you in point of fact do need education.

But maybe Gilmour was onto something without knowing it. As it has been suggested before around here, one of the interesting aspects of modernity is its exaltation of education. Instead of rightfully esteeming education and placing it in its proper and dignified place, the stakes of education can very often be over-realized (idolized?) as at least one way, along with politics and family values, to construct another modern end known as the Good Society. It can be to the point that the modern outlook is such that it might be said that human beings are actually made and shaped, not by the contours of the home, but in school. And one of the interesting ways this gets interpreted by culturally Reformed believers is to conceive of instruction and nurture in the faith to come by way of the day school, then the church, then the home. But if we’re being honest, what is unspoken is the skepticism that the home has any such duty; the notion is a relic of the past which deserves at best a nostalgic yet dismissive smile, the kind an adult has when he reminisces security blankets and teddy bears.

But at Yinkahdinay Wes Bredenhof points to the efforts of Dort that suggest something less modern and more Protestant:

On Friday November 30, 1618 in its morning session, the Synod of Dort issued its decree on the manner of catechesis. Dort followed Bremen’s division of catechetical duties. The work of parents, however, was put up front. According to Dort, it is the work of parent to instruct their children and the whole family with all diligence in the elements of Christian religion… It’s unfortunate that parental or domestic catechesis has been lost in so many places. It’s regrettable that many Reformed parents today expect the church to do virtually everything when it comes to the catechesis of covenant youth. The first responsibility lies with parents. Dort was right.

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22 Responses to We Don’t Need No Education

  1. renee says:

    Oppression.

    The Wall if you listen to the entire album from beginning to end is about various form of Oppression,Parents,Government,Marriage, Drugs, Business, Religion and Education. Education as it relates to the Wall is implying that school encourages all the pupils to become mindless, obedient followers instead of individuals capable of thinking and reasoning for themselves.

    Gilmore was not”on to something” that you speak of, he was in fact against what you speak of, almost 30 years ago. He knew it. That was the whole point of The Wall.

    I realize this has absolutely nothing to do with your post and more about the album, but when you said “dumb lyric” you left me no choice but to defend the honor of “The Wall.”

  2. renee says:

    Zrim,

    Listen to the music not the lyrics..it is actually a very good song. My favorite concert was YES in the round (they were fantastic, and I had seats in the 3rd row from the stage), but if I could have went to a Floyd concert it would have been a tie for favorites I am sure.

    Sorry to take your post off topic, I was just stopping by to see what you guys have been up to.

    Take care.

    🙂

  3. Zrim says:

    Renee,

    So much for my wordplay. But where I am from, Floyd was outsider music (along with Led Zeppelin, Michael Jackson & Madonna). YES was borderline. It wasn’t until college when I ripped off my DJ roommate’s music that I began to appreciate Floyd.

    But I still think this song is lame. I’m more a “Mother” and “Us and Them” guy.

  4. renee says:

    I can….not… believe you put Led Zeppelin in the same category as Michael Jackson & Madonna!!!

    Seriously though, I realize you were an 80’s (Breakfast Club) teenager while I was a 70’s (Dazed and Confused) teenager. That may explain the differences in our musical tastes and just who would be the “outsiders” of our day.

    BTW in the Breakfast Club, I would have been the Aly Sheedy character.

    Scary isn’t it.

    🙂

  5. Zrim says:

    Renee,

    I’m aware of the vast differences between those musical expressions. But my categorizing was “outsider music” for my time and place. Mainstream insiders rejected both cult 70s music and shiny contemporary pop. Cool was U2 and The Police.

    I was never a “teenager.” I forbade my parents from referring to me in that stereotyped language. I also have a thing about being called “dude.” Breakfast Club was rife with after-school special stereotypes, but that doesn’t keep it from being a generational classic. It’s even a must-watch when surfing channels.

    So you’re saying you like Pixy Stix and Cap’n Crunch sandwiches?

  6. todd says:

    “I can….not… believe you put Led Zeppelin in the same category as Michael Jackson & Madonna!!!”

    Yes, as a child of the 70’s also, I was taken aback by these names in the same sentence. But we can forgive Zrim because his 2k theology helps him to appreciate the arts and music without baptizing them. Good enough for me. Now for some Queen.

  7. renee says:

    “So you’re saying you like Pixy Stix and Cap’n Crunch sandwiches?”

    Not exactly, my school lunch on most days consisted of French fries, chocolate milk an ice cream sandwich and a Marlboro (red).

    But..while my fellow female peers were putting on makeup and styling their hair before dressing in the stylish fashions they owned, I was going makeup- less , while hiding behind my long straight hair, dressed in Levi’s jeans, a tee shirt underneath a flannel shirt and wearing boys Jack Purcell tennis shoes.

    Yet somehow I managed to date and marry the most “Popular” bodybuilding, motorcycle riding Jock at school.

    “I forbade my parents from referring to me in that stereotyped language.”

    Yes. I find this statement believable.

    🙂

    Todd, Consider Zrim forgiven.

  8. Chris Donato says:

    Spoken like a true, pinch-rolled Bugle Boy.

    Tsk, tsk, on suggesting education is “idolized.” Have we not taken Hart’s critique seriously?

    But seriously, this post is right on. Leave the teaching of evolutionary theory to the biology teachers in school. I’ll handle Nicea, thank you very much.

  9. John Yeazel says:

    That was some of the more interesting dialog I have heard at the Outhouse in awhile. The banter between Zrim and Renee always makes me laugh. Zrim has this uncanny ability to get himself out of situations which appear to be difficult to get out of. He misinterprets the meaning of the wall and then goes into his explanation of “outsider music.” The funny thing is the other person will usually buy into his explanation.

    Great post on the parents responsibility to catechize their kids. A generation gap usually develops between families that do not do this and all sorts of problems take place in that great and neglected institution called the family. I am not aware of many families that do this on a consistent basis- much to everyone’s loss.

    I suppose there are dangers of doing it wrongly too that often are not addressed. There should always be open dialog between parents and kids with the kids being allowed to ask any questions and openly express their doubts and concerns without any fear of punishment. It seems that the local Church should be overseeing the process and correcting any of the abuses that might be taking place. This is more easily said then done.

  10. John Yeazel says:

    Great live version of Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd. After reading the dialog on the post though I kept getting images of band members getting catechized by the Catholic Church with nuns that would slap their knuckles with rulers when they were out of line or parents who would beat the crap of them for not doing what they were told to do. An oppressive Church or home makes great rock stars.

  11. John Yeazel says:

    Perhaps I’m falling into the “all blackboards lead to Hitler” mentality but there are some valid concerns with catechizing in a improper manner.

  12. todd says:

    John,

    That’s “all 2k discussions lead to Hitler”

  13. Zrim says:

    John,

    I suppose there are dangers of doing it wrongly too that often are not addressed…there are some valid concerns with catechizing in a improper manner.

    Perfectly valid point. A thing worth doing is worth doing well. At the same time, it’s worth considering that if we worried about doing a worthy thing well we may not ever do it (or at least put it off unduly). I think of folks who stave off marriage or kids because of a misplaced perfectionism. Failure is way under-rated, if you ask me.

  14. John Yeazel says:

    Todd,

    I had not watched the Jon Daly video clip before I made that comment so it was not really relevant to what I was trying to say. I was assuming that it meant that education leads to brainwashing and develops a herd mentality where people cannot think for themselves. Abuses take place in any kind of catechizing. Now the catechizing that Daly was criticizing was that made by right wing advocates who are not really rational. Even though he sensationalized it a bit (ha, ha) it probably was not far from the truth of what many right wingers do.

    I do not believe that “all 2K discussions lead to Hitler (if that was the implication of your comment). I am an advocate of 2K thinking. Although it needs to be hashed out a bit more and I am sure there are some unforeseen problems that may pop up about it. We also may disagree about how we implement the thinking in our own lives and what is proper 2K thinking and what is not. It certainly makes for interesting discussions on the internet.

  15. John Yeazel says:

    Renee,

    I did not picture you as someone who would be fond of the Ally Sheedy character in the Breakfast Club. The dark and brooding type does not seem to be your modus opperendi. She was my favorite character too but I am very dark and brooding. Also, boasting about “dating and marrying the most popular bodybuilding and motorcycle riding jock” will not gain you brownie points at the confessional outhouse. Please do not take my remarks seriously- I am speaking tongue-in-cheek. Good to have you checking back at the outhouse. Like I said before it is not often that we get a Catholic point of view here.

  16. John Yeazel says:

    Did not mean to put the above post in a response to Zrim. Was making a remark to Zrim but erased it. I really did not disagree with anything you said Zrim.

  17. renee says:

    Hi John,

    In my youth I most certainly was the dark and brooding type but above all else I was all about being an individual and not a follower, and because I stepped out of my comfort zone and dated someone who was the total opposite of me ( who by the way was also an un-Baptized Pagan, and I a “good” Catholic Girl” ) I am no longer ‘the dark and brooding type’ but I still have my moments, they are just moments and not my identity.

    I was not boasting just giving an example of how we can find knowledge, understanding and sometimes more of ourselves if we dare to venture out of our personal boundaries and comfort zones.

    I believe combining two or more opposites make for the most interesting life experiences. For example, I learned from my husband that life could be fun and not always so serious and he learned from me that life was not just one big party and balance is necessary. The Billy Joel song ‘Only the Good Die Young’ tells the story of our relationship as teenagers perfectly.

    In regards to the topic of the post,I have known kids who were catechized by parents and Church and Catholic Schools who were irreligious and I have known kids who were catechized by parents and Church and Catholic Schools who were devoutly religious. I think it all comes down to embracing truths as individuals. Unless one is willing to be open and embrace the Gospel or Christ it really does not matter in what form or by who the teachings come from, they (kids and adults) will just keep what they want and discard the rest.

  18. John Yeazel says:

    Renee,

    Great answer Renee, I am impressed. Now the follower and individual thing gets to be a bit more complicated with us Reformed and Lutheran types. We are all “followers” or disciples (which literally means “learners” in the Greek) of Christ but this allows us to find our individual identities “in Him.” We get lost in a narcissistic whirlpool of self-expression without our identity in God and His Son. Perhaps you are saying almost the same thing in a slightly different way but was just trying to clarify.

    We also are big on using our minds and not following the various whims and fads in the culture. We seek to transcend culture but enjoy what is good about it too because we are all made in the image of God and are capable of doing and producing extraordinary things no matter what our beliefs.

  19. Zrim says:

    I think it all comes down to embracing truths as individuals. Unless one is willing to be open and embrace the Gospel or Christ it really does not matter in what form or by who the teachings come from, they (kids and adults) will just keep what they want and discard the rest.

    Renee,

    If the Synod’s decision is any measure (and I think it is), the Reformed seem to grasp how human beings actually work, in deference to modern claims of individualism. We are who we are as a result of both nature and nurture.

    In point of fact, I think the Reformed understanding is that it very much does matter who the teachings come from, and, at the same time, we also don’t entertain the fantasy that even those ordained means (home) have some sort of magical sway to convince any human being—the miracle of belief comes from God alone. This is also how we understand evangelism. Just as the home is ordained to do the work of instruction to nurture belief in those inside the covenant, the ordained institution (church) has a job to do for those outside the covenant, and it is God alone who works the results. Parents and pastors are sinful agents who fail all the time, which, when the miracle of belief is manifest, only magnifies God all the more.

  20. renee says:

    John,

    In regards to my refusal to be follower I was speaking of culture and fads and others, not God. Of course I follow Christ,but that had nothing to do with the Ally Sheedy comment I was responding to.

    Zrim and John,

    This is what I know to be true, individuals choose to follow Christ and parents should be the primary teachers for their children, but I also know that some children are more responsive to those who are not their immediate authority figures for example, my parents were not the perfect example of Practicing Catholics/ Christians but they did sent me to Sunday School and I then on my own I elected to be Confirmed and become a practicing Catholic after learning from my CCD teacher. Some of my friends learned of Christ through Catholic School and not at home. Ideally one who had practicing Christian/Catholic parents would be blessed with an advantage, but sometimes God works through those outside the home too. My husband was confirmed Catholic 10 yeas after our marriage and it had nothing to do with me. It was between him and God. My oldest daughter to this day has decided that non-denominational born again evangelical Christianity is her calling. It does not matter that my husband and I are devout practicing Catholics, sometimes I think that the fact that we are devout practicing Catholics keeps her away from the Catholic Church. She has always had a rebellious nature especially against authority,especially Church authority.

    FWIW…Here is the official position of the Catholic Church on the subject.

    From the Catechism of the Catholic Church

    “The duties of parents

    2221 The fecundity of conjugal love cannot be reduced solely to the procreation of children, but must extend to their moral education and their spiritual formation. “The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute.”29 The right and the duty of parents to educate their children are primordial and inalienable.30

    2222 Parents must regard their children as children of God and respect them as human persons. Showing themselves obedient to the will of the Father in heaven, they educate their children to fulfill God’s law.

    2223 Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery – the preconditions of all true freedom. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the “material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones.”31 Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children. By knowing how to acknowledge their own failings to their children, parents will be better able to guide and correct them:

    He who loves his son will not spare the rod. . . . He who disciplines his son will profit by him.32

    Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.33

    2224 The home is the natural environment for initiating a human being into solidarity and communal responsibilities. Parents should teach children to avoid the compromising and degrading influences which threaten human societies.

    2225 Through the grace of the sacrament of marriage, parents receive the responsibility and privilege of evangelizing their children. Parents should initiate their children at an early age into the mysteries of the faith of which they are the “first heralds” for their children. They should associate them from their tenderest years with the life of the Church.34 A wholesome family life can foster interior dispositions that are a genuine preparation for a living faith and remain a support for it throughout one’s life.

    2226 Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child’s earliest years. This already happens when family members help one another to grow in faith by the witness of a Christian life in keeping with the Gospel. Family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith. Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God.35 The parish is the Eucharistic community and the heart of the liturgical life of Christian families; it is a privileged place for the catechesis of children and parents.

    2227 Children in turn contribute to the growth in holiness of their parents.36 Each and everyone should be generous and tireless in forgiving one another for offenses, quarrels, injustices, and neglect. Mutual affection suggests this. The charity of Christ demands it.37

    2228 Parents’ respect and affection are expressed by the care and attention they devote to bringing up their young children and providing for their physical and spiritual needs. As the children grow up, the same respect and devotion lead parents to educate them in the right use of their reason and freedom.

    2229 As those first responsible for the education of their children, parents have the right to choose a school for them which corresponds to their own convictions. This right is fundamental. As far as possible parents have the duty of choosing schools that will best help them in their task as Christian educators.38 Public authorities have the duty of guaranteeing this parental right and of ensuring the concrete conditions for its exercise.

    2230 When they become adults, children have the right and duty to choose their profession and state of life. They should assume their new responsibilities within a trusting relationship with their parents, willingly asking and receiving their advice and counsel. Parents should be careful not to exert pressure on their children either in the choice of a profession or in that of a spouse. This necessary restraint does not prevent them – quite the contrary from giving their children judicious advice, particularly when they are planning to start a family.

    2231 Some forgo marriage in order to care for their parents or brothers and sisters, to give themselves more completely to a profession, or to serve other honorable ends. They can contribute greatly to the good of the human family.

    IV. THE FAMILY AND THE KINGDOM

    2232 Family ties are important but not absolute. Just as the child grows to maturity and human and spiritual autonomy, so his unique vocation which comes from God asserts itself more clearly and forcefully. Parents should respect this call and encourage their children to follow it. They must be convinced that the first vocation of the Christian is to follow Jesus: “He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”39

    2233 Becoming a disciple of Jesus means accepting the invitation to belong to God’s family, to live in conformity with His way of life: “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother.”40

    Parents should welcome and respect with joy and thanksgiving the Lord’s call to one of their children to follow him in virginity for the sake of the Kingdom in the consecrated life or in priestly ministry. ”

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a4.htm

  21. Zrim says:

    I much prefer this language…

    2229 As those first responsible for the education of their children, parents have the right to choose a school for them which corresponds to their own convictions. This right is fundamental. As far as possible parents have the duty of choosing schools that will best help them in their task as Christian educators.38 Public authorities have the duty of guaranteeing this parental right and of ensuring the concrete conditions for its exercise.

    Over this…

    The duties belonging to the office of elder consist of continuing in prayer and ruling the church of Christ according to the principles taught in Scripture, in order that purity of doctrine and holiness of life may be practiced. They shall see to it that their fellow-elders, the minister(s) and the deacons faithfully discharge their offices. They are to maintain the purity of the Word and Sacraments, assist in catechizing the youth, promote God-centered schooling

    CHURCH ORDER OF THE UNITED REFORMED CHURCHES IN NORTH AMERICA (Second Edition, 1997), Article 14.

    Seems to me the Catholic Church affords more liberty on a matter indifferent than a Reformed denomination. Wow.

  22. John Yeazel says:

    “In regards to my refusal to be follower I was speaking of culture and fads and others, not God. Of course I follow Christ,but that had nothing to do with the Ally Sheedy comment I was responding to.”

    Renee:

    That is why I added the caveat: “perhaps you are saying the same thing in a slightly different way- I was just trying to clarify.”

    Keep your remarks coming- I am learning a lot from you and the way you practice your Catholic faith. I find it very enlightening and interesting. I’m sure we will probably have our doctrinal differences but I find your faith to be different than I would stereotype most Catholics to be.

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