by Maribeth Kelly
“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” These words, often attributed to Aristotle, address one of the main problems in education today.
Education cannot be simply a passing on of information; it must be focused on the formation of a person in the Truth, or else it loses all of its weight. As I reflect upon the path of my education thus far, I have grown to appreciate and value each step in its own respect.
My education is one of the most precious gifts that I have received; I have been blessed to be educated in both mind and heart.
Education the Mind and Heart
My education began at home with my parents. From the moment I was born, I was blessed with loving parents who taught me much more than ABCs and 123s; they taught me to love truly good things, primarily God Himself, giving me the personal formation of heart that has led me to a relationship with Him.
In addition to this, my parents fostered in me a love and appreciation of truth and beauty, whether it was in analyzing a work of literature, studying a period of history, or speaking Latin at home.
Truly, the heart must be ordered to Truth and Goodness in order for the education of the mind to find its fulfillment. If the mind and heart are educated together, intellectual pursuits are valued for their own sake, because they are true and beautiful in themselves.
By choosing the Seton Home Study Curriculum, my parents were given the tools and resources to foster my desire for knowledge and adapt the pace and material to my personality. Personal adaption and one-on-one interaction with my parents were key components to my personal formation.
In addition to this, the rigorous academics of the Seton Program taught me not only to write well-ordered and structured papers, but also to organize and articulate my thoughts with clarity, logic, and purpose.
The aim of the Seton Program is not only to “take in information,” but to join the “taking in of information” with personal formation—an education of mind and heart together.
This results in graduates who have matured spiritually, emotionally, and academically; they are ready for wherever God may lead them.
On to Christendom
After my Seton graduation, God led me to Christendom College. The rigorous academics and personal formation provided by Seton prepared me extremely well for Christendom.
I thrived in the Christendom community both academically, as I knew how to articulate my thoughts clearly and purposefully, and spiritually, as the Faith taught to me by my parents was fostered in such a holy place.
Christendom’s challenging academic curriculum matched my desire to pursue knowledge of the truth for its own sake. I graduated Salutatorian of the Class of 2014 as a philosophy major, theology minor.
My four years at Christendom were some of the most formative and cherished years of my life; at Christendom, I was challenged to live to my fullest potential as a whole person—both mind and heart.
Shortly after my graduation, I accepted the position of Academic Success Coach at Christendom College. In my work, I meet one-on-one with students, connecting them to the academic resources they need in order to be successful in their academic pursuits.
This primarily consists in helping them identify their strengths and weaknesses, establish strong study habits, organize their time and materials, etc. I am extremely blessed; every morning, I wake up and thank God for including this job in the story of my life.
Strengthened in Mind and Heart
I believe that my love for this position stems from my gratitude for my own education. In an earlier comment, I wrote that education is a gift. I always remind my students of this, encouraging them to ponder what God wants them to do with the gift they are receiving.
For me, my return gift is to help students in their academic pursuits—to help them receive what I cherish so dearly in my own life. I have worked with students who do not know how to write well, articulate their thoughts, think critically, or analyze literature, simply because they have not been taught how to do these things.
I feel very blessed to be able to assist students in understanding and appreciating the truth—in educating both their minds and hearts.
My education is far from complete. I am currently enrolled in the Christendom Graduate School (NDGS), pursuing my Masters in Theology. Even after I complete this program, I know that I will be growing in love and knowledge throughout my life.
My parents, Seton, and Christendom have cultivated in me a “philosophical habit of mind,” as Blessed John Henry Newman puts it, which will stay with me far beyond the classroom in pursuing the truth for its own sake.
My formal education at Seton and Christendom has strengthened both my mind and heart; yet, it is merely the spark that has prepared me for a life-long pursuit of knowledge, the true, the good, and the beautiful.