Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Learning to Know and Love the Noble

Last spring, Professor Jeff Sikkenga offered an eloquent and thoroughly moving speech at the baccalaureate ceremony to the graduating seniors of Ashland University. It is available to read in the current issue of the Ashbrook Center’s newsletter, On Principle and on-line here. Do go read it. You won’t be sorry. It is one of the best essays of its kind that I have read and one that should be standard issue to all incoming freshmen--at Ashland or anywhere else. Sikkenga addresses it to graduating seniors--but for reasons that become apparent as you read it--it is tragic if this speech was the first acquaintance any of them had with him at Ashland. If you know a young person just starting college or getting ready to go next fall, and you have just enough influence to get that person to read only one thing . . . this essay should be that one thing.

Discussions - 4 Comments

Fine work, Jeff...beautiful. It brought to mind one of the best things Mortimer Adler ever did, an essay called "Labor, Leisure, and Liberal Education," available in this book and in mega-edited versions on the net. Sikkenga's piece is more powerful, (and more of a speech), but Adler's goes into the Aristotelian distinction b/t recreation, labor, and leisure in greater depth, and unlike Sikkenga, Adler inists on a difference b/t sabbath-rest and leisure. There is something mystical, seventh-day, about the rest of God his followers are asked to enter into.

BTW, I know about Adler's shortcomings, but I toot his horn because I owe my pursuit of liberal education to Reforming Education's prodding.

It is a truly fine piece; I plan on distributing it widely, perhaps even to colleagues.

Mark Twain once said "don't let school get in the way of your education." But if school means schole which means leisure I suppose you could also say: "don't let your education get in the way of your school."

Work Hard, Play Hard, Meditate Hard?

What Adler's piece was for Carl, Josef Pieper's Leisure, the Basis of Culture was for me.

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