Friday, November 16, 2007

Last Nights Colloquium

Last night we had a lively discussion facilitated by Donna. We expressed our insights and feelings related to the assigned readings of Dr. Oliver DeMille entitled 'A New Collection of Essays on Education' Our first essay, The Calm Before the Storm, we talked about preparing our minds through reading, writing, studying, and discussing great classics. I'm glad that we are coming together with others in this colloquium setting trying to inspire greatness in ourselves that we might in turn go and inspire others to greatness including our children. Inspiring others is our responsibility and then to support those we see as worthy statesmen. Our founding generation worked all day and did physically demanding jobs for the most part and then in the evenings they read, studied, wrote letters, and discussed with others their learnings, thoughts and insights obtained through the classics. Our Founding Fathers and Mothers understood that their lives and all they possessed was because of providence and it was providence that they would be returning and accountable to for their actions.
By attending a discussion group you are doing something during the calm of our current history. There is much more for me and you to do to meet the call of living on this earth.

This morning I was listening to Dr. Shannon Brooks of George Wythe College. He was talking about one of our essays. Liber and Public Virtue. I don't think I am ready yet to give up all I have in order to provide something better for my community. That is what the signers of the Declaration of Independence and every other official declaration that required the names of our Founding Fathers did. They understood Public Virtue. There is a book I want to purchase, I think it's called Signers of the Declaration (an 184? publication). I am indebted to this generation of mothers and fathers who gave everything, money, lives, belongings for the cause of our freedom. Almost all of the signers died poor when once they were wealthy but gave it all for public virtue. What am I willing to part with? During the colloquium Gove said a survey from N.Y.U. asked students what it would take to sell their vote and what they would take in money to sell their vote forever. Would you believe many would sell their vote for an ipod? I need to read about this generation of faithful founders that I might learn and grow from their teachings of both private and public virtue. Lastly was DeMilles paper, 'Attention Span: Our National Education Crisis'. By the time we made it to this essay we had about 15 minutes left. I am so glad we have not had television since 1995. I think my attention span has increased as a result of more reading and managing my time with greater efficiency. Because of all the wonderful toys available today we as a society have decreased our ability to stay attentive. News is delivered in 30 second sound bites. And much of what is said is opinion. I hear lots of opinions and then I forget and move on. Never really thinking what the truth is. When Lincoln and Douglas debated, people were willing to set and listen for 7 hours and then come back and hear more. They had attention span. What I learned is that increasing my attention is hard work. Real study is hard work. Change is hard. Righteousness is hard work. Hard work isn't fun. If I'm not learning I have only myself to blame. This is what I want to teach my children. Don't blame others for their failures, work harder, give the time it takes to become Liber. Liber is the root of Liberty, libro, library, liberal arts. My liberty and freedom did not come free to me. I can not keep my freedom without becoming Liber.

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