Education is about raising our sons and daughters to be men and women of God. The more fully we define what a mature Christian is like, the richer our understanding of education becomes. In the classical Christian tradition, we hold that education is not just about teaching subjects and preparing our children for jobs, though this is important. It is also about teaching them to have virtue and empowering them to live a fruitful and satisfying life that glorifies God and benefits His creation. The writer of Hebrews says, “For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:13–14, NKJV). The implication that can often be missed is that we not only know good and evil, but we have been trained to do what is good and avoid what is evil. Sometimes people do not think about the fact that biblical virtues include work and fulfilling our God given vocation.
At one of the churches I served we had drifters start coming to church (they drifted away pretty quickly too). They had a lifestyle where they hitched rides on trains and squatted in abandoned buildings. They had a profession of being Christian and talked about how God provided everything they needed. They had places to stay, ways to get around, and found food and clothes in dumpsters. I explained to them that they were actually living off of the goodness of others who were manifesting the image of God by fulfilling their vocation. Every item of clothes they found was created by someone whose industriousness was a demonstration that they are image bearers of God and not animals. It was also purchased by someone and eventually discarded. As a matter of fact, there were probably many people involved in with everything they took for granted and claimed as Gods provision. If everyone lived the lifestyle they promoted, this world would not be a beautiful place. The point is that there is something beautiful about the fact that we have clothes and homes and buildings, and all of these things are a result of people fulfilling their vocations and expressing their God given creative abilities.
What we are talking about is purpose and significance. Our children need to know that “that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” (the Declaration of Independence). We are created in the image of God, and all that we do should be according to His design and done as an act of worship to Him. When it is, our lives are filled with true satisfaction. Some of the goals of a Fortis education include helping our children to discern good and evil and to express the image of God by becoming a creative force for good in the world. A classical education is designed to train our children both in virtue and skill. The fact that were are Christian defines what our virtues are and puts our skills to work as an act of worship.