We saw that the goal of education is not only the learning of facts, but also the training of the mind to think, and think rightly. This is the power of the mind.
But the sum of a man is more than his mind and his ability to think. He also possesses a heart, which is the most important part of his being.
Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life. Pro 4:23
There are brilliant men who have the power of their minds, whose minds have been trained to think. But by their corrupt hearts, they remain fools, walking a path whose end is death. For wisdom and foolishness are not provinces of the mind, but of the heart.
The fool has said in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt,
They have done abominable works,
There is none who does good. Psa 14:1
“For the turning away of the simple will slay them,
And the complacency of fools will destroy them;
But whoever listens to me [wisdom] will dwell safely,
And will be secure, without fear of evil.” Pro 1:32-33
The first tenant or pillar of wisdom, is the fear of the Lord. Atheists, darwinists, medical doctors who are euthanizers … they may have acquired and operate in a great deal of knowledge, but they remain simple and foolish, not having arrived yet at the very first pillar of wisdom.
Wisdom has built her house,
She has hewn out her seven pillars; Pro 14:1
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Pro 9:10
Therefore a true education does more than train the mind to think. It also teaches the heart to love virtue and wisdom, which begins with loving the Lord God, the author of virtue and wisdom.
Time and attention spent on this aspect of education does not detract from acquiring the knowledge of academic subjects, what we normally think of as education. But attention spent on the heart, on virtue and wisdom, is actually foundational to acquiring the knowledge of academic subjects. Have you ever tried to teach algebra to a 14- year old child whose heart is closed to instruction? It is a fruitless and pointless endeavor.
And [those who despised wisdom] say
“How I have hated instruction,
And my heart despised correction!
I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers,
Nor inclined my ear to those who instructed me!” Pro 5:12-13
The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge,
But the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness. Pro 15:14
Pro 5:12-13 describes the foolish child’s attitude toward acquiring knowledge and instruction. Pro 15:14 describes the wise child’s attitude toward acquiring knowledge and instruction.
The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis discusses the problem of educating the mind while neglecting the heart, so that what is produced is “men without chests.”
the heart of learning
This is good stuff. Definitely things I am thinking about as I plan our homeschooling for the coming year. I am looking forward to coming posts.