Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Thankfulness and Paying Attention

The more I read it, the more I want to talk about Caldecott's latest book, Beauty in the Word! I knew I was going to love this book, since my youngest son and I were already reading Beauty for Truth's Sake--it's funny, but I can't finish that one, because my son is always carrying it away with him to read! But now, since we have two books by Stratford Caldecott, we can each read in peace.

This second book is a profound study on the significance of word, and I think that I've finally found a book on "classical education" that I might be able to whole-heartedly recommend--in fact, I think I might call it my favorite book on true education (which is a better term for what we wish to pursue). But let me finish it first; I'm about halfway through. Caldecott even quotes from Marshall McLuhan's book, which I'm also reading now. By the way, that is another one I can't wait to write about: it is fascinating to see McLuhan immersed in the writings of classical authors, and obscure ones at that!

But back to Caldecott, here are some of my latest underlinings:
"Truth is not a quarry that can easily be pursued without the help of others, because our thoughts have a tendency to run in circles. Our friends ...are given to us as 'helpers' in that quest, which leads
ultimately to God." p. 81

And then there's the section starting on pp. 29-31 about the concept of attention. Wish that I had
time to just type up all three pages of it, but here are a few quotes:
"If attention to the child is the key to the teacher's success, it is the child's own quality of attention that is the key to the learning process... 
Attention is desire; it is the desire for light, for truth, for understanding, for possession..... The attentive concentration on that which is sought and desired unites teacher and pupil through the presence of a 'third' which is the living truth (the content if you like) not yet possessed and yet somehow invisibly present, implicit in the relationship itself.
The relationship is what makes the truth flow. We learn because we love."
"Chesterton said, 'Thanking is the highest form of thought,' ...because it penetrates to the highest truth about things: that they do not simply subsist in themselves but in another....
This is what we saw as we sat on our back deck last week!
 to thank the Giver, the Origin, is to arrive at the ultimate truth of things, the truth that is sought in logical thought, the truth of what things are; for in their deepest nature things are expressions of the love that moves the stars." 
 ~  p. 82 in Beauty in the Word.

Yes!! A writer who goes from Chesterton to Dante. 


  1. I always say "It's a good day if you can learn something" but I'm going to change that. I'm adding "....and add a new book to your 'to read' list!"

  2. I just found your blog via the Harvey Center via Cindy Rollins. A friend of Caldecott's book is good indeed. I love his book and am still slowly reading it. This was one of my favorite sections. How attention primes us for the ultimate attention of prayer and then Heaven.