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Distraction and the Plague of Low Expectations

Oct 12, 2023

Education as a Spiritual Work of Mercy: An Interview with Professor Kyle Washut by Julian Kwasniewski at The Catholic World Report. I think two of the biggest challenges facing the formation of young people today are distraction and the plague of low expectations. On the distraction side of things, college students today have never known a world without smartphones. Many of them are used to being perpetually on call to friends and family, their data constantly monitored by tracking, and they are unceasingly scrolling through the internet…. But on top of the reductionism and distraction that pervades their lives, young people today are…. told that they are fragile, that they deserve special treatment, that the world is too harsh, unfair, and dangerous. Read


Order: The Precondition of Learning by Mark Anthony Signorelli at The Classical Corner. It is a basic rule of classroom teaching—perhaps the basic rule of classroom teaching—that no real learning can take place in an environment replete with commotion and distraction. For all its foundational, indispensable importance, however, I have hardly ever heard modern educators give this principle the kind of outsized emphasis it deserves, which of course explains why modern classrooms are replete with commotion and distraction. The modern classroom is routinely described by those who preside there as a scene of engagement or inspiration or safety or discovery—but order, hardly ever. Here is a statement from which many readers will recoil, but which is blindingly obvious to anyone who has spent more than a week in a classroom: the greatest potential impediments to a child’s ability to learn in the classroom are the other children. The ability to learn depends on the ability to concentrate, and the uncooperative behavior of any student in the classroom is bound to impede the concentration of the other students. Read


Five Ways to Stop Modernity From Ravaging Your Mind by Julian Kwasniewski at Crisis Magazine. The relaxation and absence of distraction that accompanies reading a physical book rather than something off of a constantly pinging phone or tablet is forgotten and undervalued. Paper pages never remind you of meetings or alert you to the latest cat photo on Instagram. If it’s a book worth reading, you should devote your mind to it, giving it the attention it deserves. Of course, this also brings up the topic of “ongoing education” and the fact that we should not let our minds atrophy. We should cultivate a healthy habit of curiosity and reflection supported and nourished by our reading habits. Read


7 Things You Didn’t Know About J.R.R. Tolkien’s Catholic Faith by Clare Walker at National Catholic Register. Tolkien is a household name, one of the most famous Catholic monikers in the world. But even Tolkien suffered a dry spell in his Catholic faith, a period of about 10 years, from 1920 to 1930, during which he admits that “out of wickedness and sloth I almost ceased to practice my religion …” These were difficult years…. Yet he emerged from his “dark night” with a strong, vibrant faith and unshakable love for God, the saints, the Church and the Holy Eucharist. As [Holly] Ordway writes in her book, “A full treatment of [Tolkien’s] faith uncovers a life marked by determination and decision.” Read


Only Seven of Nation's 100 Biggest School Districts Celebrate Columbus Day: Report by Jeremiah Poff at Washington Examiner. Less than 10% of the nation's largest school districts continue to commemorate Columbus Day, a new report found. The report from the Young America’s Foundation found that only seven of the nation's 100 largest school districts still observe Columbus Day, while 19 mark the holiday as "Indigenous People's Day." Read


Indigenous Slavers: American Indians Who Whipped and Owned Blacks by Paul Kengor at The American Spectator. As leftists look to cancel Christopher Columbus and today’s annual holiday commemorating him—that is, the man who discovered this land that is the United States of America—they’re also looking to replace the great explorer with [Indigenous Peoples’ Day]. How ironic this is. Among the sins that leftists try to peg on Columbus is slavery…. According to scholar Barbara Krauthamer, an expert who has published books on the subject, American Indians in the 1830s and 1840s brought their slaves with them westward when the federal government removed the Indian nations from the southern states. Krauthamer says that the Cherokee had the largest number of black slaves, with more than 1,500. At the time of the start of the Civil War, says Krauthamer, more than 8,000 blacks were enslaved in Indian Territory, comprising 14 percent of the total population. Read


German Christian Home-Schooling Family Reportedly Given Stay of Deportation at National Catholic Register by Daniel Payne. A family of German Christians who has lived in the United States for years in order to continue home-schooling their children has received a stay of deportation for one year, after fears that they would be forced to leave the country…. The Romeikes fled Germany due to that country’s markedly severe home-schooling laws. The practice is effectively illegal there, with virtually no exceptions or carve-outs for families seeking to educate their children at home. The Romeikes themselves are evangelical Christians and said they pulled their children from public school as the instruction the children were receiving conflicted with the family’s religious beliefs. Read


‘Groundbreaking Legal Victory’: Court Rules School Cannot Trans Kids Without Parental Consent by Mary Margaret Olohan at The Daily Signal. A Waukesha County Circuit Court ruled Tuesday in favor of Wisconsin parents, deciding that a Wisconsin school district “abrogated” parents’ rights when it decided to socially “affirm” their daughter as a transgender boy against their wishes…. The judge concluded: “The current policy of handling these issues on a case-by-case basis without either notifying the parents or by disregarding the parents’ wishes is not permissible and violates fundamental parental rights.” Read


Throwback Thursday


The Spiritual Goal of Catholic Education by Philip Kosloski at Aleteia on January 28, 2020. For nearly 200 years, education in the Western world has been focused almost entirely on the memorization of facts or the success of the student on standardized tests. This is not always the case, but a large portion of schools have been historically more concerned about grades than anything else. While it certainly is important to be well educated and have an ability to recall facts about particular subjects, Catholic education should stand out for its insistence on the importance of a virtuous life, not just a life full of “head knowledge.” Read

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