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Duty and Desire: The Best Hope for Our Children's Education

Duty and Desire: The Best Hope for Our Children's Education

What kind of school our children attend is far less important than what kind of people they are shaped into

A wonderful grace for our children in those years was FOCUS, a ministry to students in the private and independent school world along the Eastern seaboard principally. A bit playfully, I have described it as "John Stott and Francis Schaeffer meeting on Martha's Vineyard, imagining together a ministry to high-school students." For over 50 years, it has served the schools that no else has served, viz. the private, independent schools, and has done so with great grace. Its presence at St. Stephen's and St. Agnes was a lifeline for our children, nurturing them in visions of honest faith as they were learning to learn in a pluralizing, secularizing world.

And all of our children eventually must live in that kind of world. It cannot and will not be different than that. So where they go to school is not finally the most important decision; how they learn and who they become with what they learn is more critical. As I long argued at Rivendell—remembering the moral vision of Tolkien himself—it is not only important that our children learn their duty to love God and his world, but that they learn to desire that. The one is easier than the other. But duty and desire together are the best hope of a good education, and a good life, for children everywhere.

Steven Garber is married to Meg, and they are parents of five children. Long members of The Falls Church, he is the principal and founder of The Washington Institute for Faith, Vocation and Culture.

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