Monday, March 23, 2009


It is an ancient Greek word (παιδεία).

Our word encyclopedia comes in part from this ancient word.

It meant to educate or instruct or pass on the culture to the young. The Wikipedia article states: "... was about training for liberty (freedom) and nobility (the beautiful). Paideia is the cultural heritage that is continued through the generations."

It was nearly 40 years ago that I read a book for some college class titled Paideia: The Ideals of Greek Culture Volume III: The Conflict of Cultural Ideals in the Age of Plato (Paideia, the Ideals of Greek Culture) that I first learned the word and studied its meaning.

I was reminded again of the word recently in my reading in Joshua and now in Judges. Because the generation of the nation of Israel that came into the land failed to pass on to many of their children all that God had done.

It is a problem all of us parents know too well. It is so hard to pass our own faith and ideals and cultural beliefs to our children. Mostly I think we all want to do it. And we try. And for a while it seems like we are successful until our children become teenagers and young adults. Then we wonder if they heard anything we said or watched anything we did.

Then, if we survive long enough and if we are blessed, we watch our own children come to embrace our own faith and philosophy and culture. And often by that time they have children of their own and we watch them fight to impart those same values and beliefs to another generation of our family.

It is no easier for them than it was for us. In fact it looks like it is even harder.

We listen to our children discuss their own struggles and question whether they are doing enough or doing it right.

Finally we gain enough perspective to realize our own parents must have similarly struggled and their parents before them and on back in time.

Every new generation has to grapple with what values they will uphold and fight to preserve. The outcome is never certain either.


Staci said...

It's really hard to imagine that the majority of "kids" under age 25 can even relate to people my age - in the beliefs and morals categories that is. I feel like we lose something every generation. I suppose my grandparents felt the same.

~Betsy said...

Personally, I think they hear us more than we realize.

dave said...

Our kids my not accept all we taught them. There is always the chance that they will learn a better lesson.
I try to stay very close to my daughters and grandkids. It is amazing what I learn from them.
They may never agree with me, I will love them the same either way.
But what you said is true.

susie mccoll said...

Now that my older two boys are teenagers, I too often get the feeling that they just don't really care about what I am trying to tell them. All I can hope is that one day they will come back to what we tried to teach them - Biblically, morally, etc. Proverbs says that will happen and it definitely has happened in my own life.