HeightsCast: Forming Men Fully Alive

Oct 13 2020 37 mins 10

Welcome to HeightsCast, the official podcast of The Heights School! Every other week, we feature interviews with teachers and educators here at The Heights School and elsewhere, on the education and formation of the type of man you’d want your daughter to marry. Our hope is that through this medium we can enlighten, inspire, and reassure the parents and friends of The Heights community, and parents and educators throughout the world. Join us!

"The Talk": On the Role of Schools and Fathers
Jun 26 2019 40 mins  
In this episode, Upper School Head, Michael Moynihan discusses how we as a School partner with fathers to help them share God's plan for marriage and human love with their sons. Each child has the right to a personal conversation with their parents about human love. To deal with this topic solely in an institutional way does not do it justice. The topic of human love is best addressed in the context of the home, in such a way that both respects the child's innocence and respects the metaphysical and spiritual realities of love, not just the physical. Schools do have a role to play in this education through an integrated curriculum offering, inter alia, examples of friendship and love in literature, a correct human anthropology through philosophy, and a love for the theological underpinnings of the sacrament of marriage. Schools also have a role to play in supporting parents as they educate and form their sons. This is especially true given that many parents are trying to offer their guidance to their sons in a way that is different from what they themselves received. The Heights offers a series of nights for fathers. In the 4th grade, we discuss with the fathers how to begin sharing with their sons God's plan for marriage; in the 6th grade, we discuss with the fathers how to begin to address the threats to God's plan, especially pornography; in 9th grade, we discuss the proper approach to courtship. Fathers must share with their sons the fact that God's plan for marriage are under attack, especially when it comes to pornography. Sons must be given the tools to confront this great evil when they are first exposed to it. Otherwise, interest may result from initial paralysis. These conversations are most effective when there is a good foundation in place, including (a) a developed appropriate friendship between father and son, (b) a home where modesty is observed, (c) a culture in the home that celebrates mom and dad's stories and marriage. An area to be aware of is the vice of curiosity, which is, properly understood, a dull boredom and disinterest in reality, the natural tendency of which is towards passive entertainment-seeking. This leads directly to dependance on pornography.

Emotions Fully Alive: Forming Boys' Affectivity Part II
Jun 18 2019 35 mins  
In Brief: Training in virtue requires attention not only to intellect and will, but to emotions as well. Complete virtue requires not only a knowledge of, and decision towards the good, but also the desire for that good. How do we instill in our boys this desire for the good? Example: The way we speak to, and speak about, others, is a key element of our children's emotional formation. We must showcase, for our sons, what it means to be a good man. In this context, we must showcase proper management of our emotions. Service: Providing your children with opportunities to serve will then elicit positive emotional responses towards the people they serve. These opportunities should be both internal and external to the house. Communication: Find ways to communicate to your boys that emotions must be directed, guided, and shaped. This is a countercultural message in an era of "you do you." Don't be overly didactic, but be ready to explore the proper role of emotions in conversations about culture, movies, art, and even ourselves. In this way we put the finishing touches on our boys' moral imaginations. Discipline: Our children will fail in this battle early and often. The art of teaching and parenting requires discipline, but we have to carefully consider our corrections. Consider how and when a boy will be most receptive to corrections. Ultimately, virtue is not about pummeling our feelings into submission, but rather, orienting towards the good. As parents and teachers, the most effective ways to do this are by giving good example, communicating and naming them, and correcting at the right and for the reasons.

The Importance of History Pt. II
Nov 21 2017 24 mins  
Hillsdale College Dr. Matt Spalding continues his conversation with us about American History, and the theory of education in 20th century America. If you haven't listened to Part I of the episode, listen here. 3:28: Schools are trying to do too much in their study of History. APs and other similar courses and curricula force us to cover too much ground in a superficial way. The most important task for parents and teachers is to give students an imagination. Otherwise, history becomes flat and dry. We should be more simple in our approach; students can find data on their own with ease if they have basic skills. We have to break through the idea that there are no absolute truths. 8:28: American education shifted in the Progressive Era due to the influence of, among others, John Dewey. Classical and Medieval thought had a shared understanding of reality, which is why Shakespeare, Aristotle and Aquinas could all talk about the same things. In the modern world, there is a shift beginning with Machiavelli, and running through Hegel. This though enters the American context through the Progressive Era. There were two key assumptions to this line of thinking. (1) There are no permanent things, and everything is relative; thus the pursuit of truth and knowledge makes no sense. (2) All things change with time; they are historical. Past thinkers, including the founders, did not have a historical sense; all things are relative to their time. This yields an education system that is not about transferring knowledge, but about discovering ourselves through a deconstructive process. This is a departure from the world of Churchill, the Founders, the Classical and Ancient worlds, in which education served the process of "liberating" the mind to know these timeless truths. Progressive history is summed up in quote by Carl Becker, "Whether the Declaration of Independence is true is a meaningless question." To the contrary, that is the question. It was what Washington and Lincoln grappled with, as do we today. 17:19: What are colleges looking for in a high school graduate? Student who will flourish in college is the one who can do the basic human things as the "rational animal." The great gift is the gift of speech--articulating, communicating, reading, being able to discuss other things that others have communicated. Students must have a basic framework of history, along with the main aspects of character and human nature. This student will flourish if the objective of college is not necessarily a professional degree. To the contrary, college should be a time when you continue your thinking, with other people learning to think, guided by someone with years of experience guiding, such that one liberates his mind using the wisdom of the past. College is an organized experiment in thinking well about the true things. A young man's capacity to flourish and succeed is seen, more than anywhere else, in his character. High school should provide a good education: knowledge, yes, but also habits of thinking and doing that are rooted in more than mere technical knowledge. Dr. Spalding's most recent book is We Still Hold These Truths.

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