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"The requisite of all culture growth is asceticism"

Father Jonathan Morris has a very interesting interview with Dr. Bernhard Beub, headmaster of the Salem boarding school in Germany and author of “Lob der Disziplin” (In Praise of Discipline). If there are more like him in Europe, its worst days may just be behind it. Without saying the word, his framework for the reform of the educational establishment in Germany is based on a very Christian principle – “to be strict, with love”. A couple choice quotes (myemphasis):

Father Jonathan: When you talk about “strict education” and “discipline” what are you referring to?

Dr. Bueb: The requisite of all culture growth is asceticism … learning to postpone or renounce wishes and desires. You have to learn to work. Kids need to live a rational life, meaning to submit themselves to reason. You shouldn’t barter with your child. To a three or four-year-old boy or girl, you just say, “You have to do this or that.” People say you need to discuss everything with a child as young as possible. I am proposing finding the middle ground, a third way, to be strict with love.

Father Jonathan: What about the moral decline in society as a whole? Isn’t the problem bigger than just discipline in schools? Do you have a sense of why we are going in this direction?

Dr. Bueb: When a nation gets too rich, people begin to lose morals. Riches are hard to cope with. My book is now in eight languages. Germany is not the only country with the problem. Taiwan, China, and Korea, for example, are now trying to cope. When you are rich, you are seduced to enjoy life and not to work on yourself as a person. On the other hand, the poorer you are, the harder you must work to get along. Also, I think that families no longer exist in the same way as you had 50 years ago. Divorce, single mothers, we see the very negative effects in education.

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