Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Question of High School

Pete over at the Et Cum Spiritu Tuo blog yesterday linked to an article by Dennis Prager of the National Review Online, who writes about young people who stray away from their father's values when they enter the liberal environment of so many colleges and universities. It is an interesting article, and I wholeheartedly agree with Pete when he says in his post that "we must prepare our children for this hostile world."

I believe the problem begins long before the child gets to the hostile-to-conservative-Catholic-values environment of college/university. IMHO, a properly formed Catholic young adult would not be so easily swayed away from his father's values. But there is the rub: in our day there is next to no proper traditional Catholic formation in the early years for our children.

We are considering high school options for our boys, but the options are so few! Where is the high school that will help to form strong, Catholic young men?!

The principal of the grade school they now attend recently sent home a quarter-end letter to parents reiterating the values upheld and instilled in the students at our little Catholic academy, at the root of which is saving each child's soul. Yes, this. Where is the high school whose goals are so clearly focused?

In looking at high school programs I was perusing a well-known Catholic home school high school curriculum. In their magazine they had an article about "Why...?" (...choose their HS program). Except for a brief statement about their curriculum being Catholic, the answers were mostly academic: Our graduates score high on the SAT! Our graduates are accepted at all the major universities! Our graduates achieve "success" out in the real world! Really? Is that all? Yes I want academic excellence, and of course I want to see achievement and success in our sons' pursuits beyond high school. But where is it said that the graduates will have been nurtured and formed solidly in their Catholic faith? Obviously such homeschool curriculum programs by their very nature cannot provide the hands-on opportunity to ensure such formation. And I realize, too, that no program or school can guarantee an individual will not go astray from his formation, but my goodness, let it be a stated goal, a purpose for their existence alongside the academics! How many vocations are coming out of the school/program? Shouldn't this be a measurable statistic for most Catholic institutions?! I think it would have been in some decades past.

Well, our boys weren't born in decades past, but I still want that solid Catholic formation for them! I don't want to bring my sons back to the basement homeschool classroom for their high school years where I would have the nearly-entire responsibility to form them in this way. If I must (if there is no alternative) then I will do it, and to the best of my ability. But it is not, in my opinion, the ideal. No, ideally our sons would be taught, trained and formed by priests in cassocks who have never ceased in their mission to pass on the Catholic Faith as it has always been to the next generation of young Catholics. Priests just like those who are caring for, teaching and forming the children at our grade school academy, Queen of the Holy Rosary, where academics are given their place within the Catholic faith but do not supersede it.

Certainly the institutions I describe and desire seem few, but they do exist. One such school is Notre Dame de LaSalette Boys Academy. Yes, it is a distance from home. Yes, it would mean boarding at the school. Yes, that would be most difficult in many ways. But as a dear lady I know who, with her husband, has sent several of her boys to LaSalette Academy says, "Sometimes you have to send them away in order to keep them." Indeed. She has it on experience that when her boys enter higher education they have not "left (their) father's values" because of the solid Catholic formation that preceded it. Deo Gratias!

As any Catholic parent, I do not want my boys to be among the statistics from which Mr. Prager draws his article. Even in this hostile-to-Catholic-faith world we live in, there are a few oases of solid formation out there for our children. Of course this would involve great sacrifice, but with an eternal perspective, the value is clear.

O God,come to my assistance; O Lord, make haste to help me! .... as we discern Our Lord's direction.

God bless you!


Rory said...

God bless you, Jill, as you and Steve make this so important decision. Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us!


Long-Skirts said...


It’s not the teachers
Their degrees
It’s about the priests
Down on their knees.

Not the classes
Nor their size
It’s about the priests
Destroying lies.

Not the money
Not the sports
It’s about the priests
Saving the forts.

Not the alumni
Nor their name
It’s about the priests
Who led and we came.

There is no unity
With perverse
It’s about the priests
Universal, diverse.

There are no curves
Based on the class
It’s about the priests
Confecting the Mass.

Of innocent souls
There’ll be no heist
It’s about the priests
Forging men for Christ!