Entrusted to Teach: Classical Education Around the World

Some families live under the impossible burden — or perhaps the neglect­ful default — of allowing children to choose for themselves. This practice extends to the foods they will eat, the manner in which they will spend leisure time, and what they will believe to be true. Despite the surprising acceptance of such views, overly permissive or neglectful parenting seems to impact children in numerous ways. In a study reported in the American Journal of Health and Nutrition, “Parents exhibiting a laissez-faire parenting style reported lower levels of family nutrition and physical activity.”1 In a study of 1,336 students in Turkey, “adolescents living in households with high parental warmth and an authoritative... internet parenting style had lower levels of online game dependency than in households with parents with laissez-faire parenting”2; yet data collected by the same researcher with participation of over 1,200 students indicated that a “laissez-faire internet parenting is the style most commonly preferred by parents.”3 In Nigeria, “a permissive approach to parenting effectively predicts adolescents’ delinquency… Parents who exerted control and monitored adolescent activities and promoted self-autonomy were found to have the most positive effects on adolescents’ behaviour. Uninvolved parents and also non responsiveness to adolescents’ needs had negative impacts on their behaviour.”4 This is nothing new. Consider the admonition from Dr. Martin Luther centuries ago: Parents are not free to do with their children as they please. They are entrusted with parental authority that they may train up their offspring for society and the Church, and they are held to a strict account for the manner in which they discharge their duty… For if we wish to have proper and excellent persons both for civil and ecclesiastical government, we must spare no diligence, time, or cost in teaching and educating our children, that they may serve God and t
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