[Written Especially for Young People]

"Academics of the right sort"

THE word "academy," with its various derivatives, comes down to us from classical history in a very pleasing picture. In the vicinity of Athens was a beautiful garden or park, known as the "Academia." It was planted with olive and lofty plane trees, and adorned with statues; a gentle stream flowed through it, and birds warbled in its sylvan retreats. This garden, "for contemplation framed," was the favorite resort of Plato, the great Athenian scholar and philosopher, who taught many people, and discoursed there with his learned friends upon the great themes of the day. Later, the name was given to the school or teaching of Plato, and gradually it was applied to a school intermediary between a common school and a college, or to a learned society formed for the advancement of the arts and sciences. In general usage, the word "academics," or studies pursued in an academy, now has come to refer to any or all branches of higher education taught in colleges and universities.

In connection with this garden school of Plato, it is interesting to observe the modern trend towards out-of-door schools, classes, instruction camps, travel bureaus, and other arrangements whereby children and youth may be taught, in part, through lectures, observation, and experiment, and, through harmless sports, be allowed to develop freedom, courage, and skill. Such methods are in accord with the high ideals of Christian Science along educational lines, as one may see from a careful study of page 195 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," where, in one place, Mrs. Eddy says: "Academics of the right sort are requisite. Observation, invention, study, and original thought are expansive and should promote the growth of mortal mind out of itself, out of all that is mortal."

In line with this idea of "academics of the right sort," Mrs. Eddy refers to astronomy, natural history, chemistry, music, and mathematics as being helpful and desirable branches of study, for the reason that in them "thought passes naturally from effect back to cause." This simple distinction gives one an idea of how to test academics and see whether they are of the "right sort," or whether they belong to the "tangled barbarisms of learning," mentioned on the same page, and designated as "the mere dogma, the speculative theory, the nauseous fiction." A careful study of these educational ideas advanced here by Mrs. Eddy would tend to clarify one's thought concerning the line of study he should choose in planning his college course, or in preparing for specialized work of any kind. Mrs. Eddy's use of the word "academics" presupposes, of course, a common school or general high school education as a foundation for the efficient carrying out of study along academic lines, but a knowledge of Christian Science will direct one in selecting the right sort of academics, or branches of study and research. This should not be a difficult task if one has been taught in the home, or in the Christian Science Sunday School, to base his thinking on a spiritual foundation, rather than upon the evidences obtained from the five corporeal senses, or from human theories, doctrines, or hypotheses.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

A Prayer
September 10, 1932

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.