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The Purpose of School

“There is a tendency to forget that the school is only a preparation for the home, and not the home a mere jumping off place for the school.” – G.K. Chesterton

Why do our kids go to school in the first place? Judging by the priorities of our school systems, I think we’ve forgotten. It’s too easy to see our life at home as simply the “mere jumping off point” for everything else we do in the world. That our home is there to serve the greater purposes of our schooling or our career. But this is totally backwards.

Our home (and necessarily our family) is supposed to be served by those things, not the other way around. Our careers should support our home, not the other way around. Our schooling should ultimately be focused on a better home, not the other way around. I’m not saying that our schooling and careers don’t also serve other positive purposes in the world. They absolutely do. They must. But those other purposes should be secondary to serving the home and the family — to serving God and others, and most fundamentally the “others” who happen to live with us.

But if we really believed this then the metrics we use to educate our children would be very different. And we would think differently about how our work and everything else fit into our lives.

The ultimate goal is not that our kids go out and produce lots of things, make lots of money, receive many accolades and have secure, well-planned, responsible lives. No the ultimate goal is that they go out and create great homes, becoming saints who create more saints. That’s the great purpose of school.


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