Wednesday

Reason #1: Classics and Mentors Have Not Been Key Elements in Developing Most Great Leaders

DeMille argues that throughout history, the great leaders followed a similar educational process that helped lead to their greatness.
"Find a great leader in history, and you will nearly always find two central elements of their education – classics and mentors. From Lincoln, Jefferson and Washington to Ghandi, Newton and John Locke, to Abigail Adams, Mother Theresa and Joan of Arc – great men and women of history studied other great men and women.” A Thomas Jefferson Education, p. 37
DeMille is claiming that virtually all great leaders in history had classics and mentors that were central to their development. This is an important claim, because he uses this claim as evidence that TJEd works to foster leaders. We ought to find out if this is true.

I wanted to make a chart of leaders and see whether there is evidence that study of classics and mentoring were instrumental in helping them become great. But first, I had to decide: what is a classic, and what is a mentor?

What is a classic?
Here's the definition of "classic" from Merriam-Webster
1: a literary work of ancient Greece or Rome
a: a work of enduring excellence; also : its author
b: an authoritative source
3: a typical or perfect example
4: a traditional event "a football classic"

A "classic" is more than a good book. It is a book whose value has been proven over time. Definition 1a says that is a work of "enduring excellence." Time really is necessary for something to be declared a classic. If one of the greatest works ever created by man was published this year, it cannot be a classic, not yet at least. It may become a classic, but it is not a classic until it has endured, and that takes time. This is the difference between a great book and a classic: time. Great works that remain great works over time are classics. Classics are the works that people have declared to be a special category of recognition, a category that indicates that several generations have considered it to be of the highest value. Several generations. That may be a high standard, and it is. That's the point. And when people say that they love the "classics" and that so-and-so was trained in the classics, they are not talking about New York Times Bestsellers.

DeMille doesn't ever define what a classic is in A Thomas Jefferson Education, although he does include an appendix that contains a list of 100 classics for adults. I'd say about 80 of them match what I think of as a classic (I sure wouldn't have included 7 Habits by Steven Covey, 3 books by Cleon Skousen, Human Action by von Mises, The Chosen by Potok, or Frank's Alas Babylon). I will have more to say on this subject, but for now I just want to be able to have a working definition of a classic so that I can check leaders of the past and see if they really did study classics. I think my definition above is appropriate for this effort.

What is a mentor?
According to Merriam-Webster, a mentor is:
1 capitalized : a friend of Odysseus entrusted with the education of Odysseus' son Telemachus
2 a
: a trusted counselor or guide b: tutor, coach

But DeMille makes a distinction between mentors, and teachers or anyone else.
A good mentor is someone of high moral character who is more advanced than the student and can guide his or her learning. A Thomas Jefferson Education, p.39
So when DeMille uses the term mentor, he means something other than just someone that influenced the person. A supportive person is not necessarily a mentor unless he is guiding the student. And there is a sense that the mentor is on higher ground or has advanced and gone before the student. This is the working definition I will be using as I look at leaders in history to see if they had mentors.

So, if the individual studied classics (works whose value has endured over time) I put an 'x' in the column for classics, and if the individual had a mentor (a person more advanced that then individual who is guiding the individual) then I put an 'x' in the mentor column. I put a line in between DeMille's list of leaders from the quote at the beginning of this post, and others that I added.
I also added links to each person's name which will take you to the Wikipedia entry for that person.



















































Studied ClassicsHad Mentor


























Thomas JeffersonxxRead many classics. Was mentored by George Wythe, although this was after Jefferson graduated college and it was part of his training in law, which was the common method of the day for training lawyers
Abraham Lincolnx



























Read a lot as a child on the frontier. Also spent much time reading in the Library of Congress
George Washington























































Was not well read, and was a little self-conscious about it. No indication that there was any significant mentoring for him
Ghandi























































Studied some at a university, but no indication that he studied the classics to a large degree. Ended up renouncing western ideas anyway.
Isaac Newtonx



























Bright as child, and well-read. Went to some of the better schools
John Lockex



























Read many classics
Abigail Adamsx



















































No indication that she had any specific mentoring worthy of note
Mother Theresa



























xNo indication she studied classics, other than the lives of missionaries. She did have some nuns that greatly influenced her
Joan of Arc























































Almost certainly could not read. Was killed at 19. Did not have any mentors (in fact, it's hard to imagine how she could have a mentor)

Joseph Smith























































Little education. No particular mentor (I did not count his father as a mentor because I think he just supported and encouraged him but not necessarily was more advanced than him or guided him in his religious duties).
Cincinnatus























































Most likely had no access to classics, because there weren't many at the time (500 B.C.), and they would have been scarce, and he may not have even been literate since he was a small farmer. No indication that he had any mentoring.
Michelangelo



























xHe had been an apprentice to several artists that affected him
Dwight D. Eisenhower
xNo indication of studying classics
Galileo Galileix



























Most likely was familiar with classics, especially the Greek writers on science
Dantex



























Was well versed in Roman classics
Socrates























































No indication of studying classics. He most likely was familiar with Greek epics at the time, as was everyone else. No indication of any mentor.
(Saint) Peter



























xWas a fisherman so it's unlikely he knew any classics. Jesus was definitely his mentor that influenced him
William Bradford























































No indications of studying the classics or having a mentor
Martin LutherxxDevoted much time to the classics and had influential mentors



I don't think I've been unfair determining whether there is evidence for these leaders studying classics or having mentors. Obviously people could argue changing a few here or there, but the overall pattern would not change. There really is no indication that studying classics or having mentors are the key to fostering leaders, or even necessary. For those leaders that lived long ago, we don't know exactly what their education was. But that just further makes my point, that there is no evidence to support DeMille's claims that "nearly always" great leaders throughout history studied classics and had mentors. There is no evidence to back that up. But it's not just a lack of evidence. We have several examples of leaders whose education we do know that didn't study the classics or have mentors or both.

This is not nit-picking. DeMille's whole argument for "leadership education" as he describes it is built on his assertion that this is the predominant educational approach that nearly all leaders have had throughout history. If that's not correct, then he would only being assert his own ideas about what kind of education leaders should have, with little or no evidence that this actually would result in developing leaders at all.

DeMille is very clear that he has discovered the principles of what makes great leaders and what was common in their education.

"We did not invent Leadership Education; we codified it." Leadership Education, p.224 (emphasis original)

"These Phases [of Learning] were first noted and identified in our research of the education of Thomas Jefferson, and were later seen to be a pattern of many luminaries in history who lived exemplary lives and changed the world for good.” A Thomas Jefferson Education, p. 31

"Find a great leader in history, and you will nearly always find two central elements of their education – classics and mentors. From Lincoln, Jefferson and Washington to Ghandi, Newton and John Locke, to Abigail Adams, Mother Theresa and Joan of Arc – great men and women of history studied other great men and women. ” A Thomas Jefferson Education, p. 37

"This is how the great leaders of history learned. They read classics and had these sorts of discussions and were really pushed (by inspiration and internal drive, not forced requirements) by mentors.” A Thomas Jefferson Education, p. 47

"The greatest leaders in history used a very simple curriculum. They read the classics, they discussed them with a mentor who accepted only quality work, and they applied what they learned to real life.” A Thomas Jefferson Education, p.55

"Leadership Education is more than just a collection of ideas. It is a recounting of a process by which scholars such as Thomas Jefferson, Isaac Newton, Marie Curie and Winston Churchill achieved excellence in scholarship and personal development. And we do not consider ourselves the authors of this process as much as its biographers." Leadership Education, p.59

"We cannot expect to enter this new country and suppose that it will be tamed for us, or that we will master it upon our first arrival. However, the path we walk through this country is tried and true. Great leaders and countless great citizens have been invited by trusted mentors to walk this way." Leadership Education, Appendix

However, looking at the backgrounds of many leaders throughout history, few of them had studied the classics and had mentors which DeMille claims to be the two key ingredients of virtually all great leaders through history. So all the claims that classics and mentors are necessary for developing great leaders is false. This does not mean that studying the classics or using mentors is bad. Quite the contrary. But it does mean that there are other reasons why men and women become great and it does mean that studying the classics and having mentors are not necessary to for great leaders to arise. There is tremendous value in studying the classics. It's what I do and what I try to help my kids do. But not to create leaders, especially since there is no historical indication that it would.

If great men and women become leaders for some other reasons besides studying the classics and having mentors, then that means that DeMille cannot claim that a "Thomas Jefferson Education" will have any bearing on developing future leaders, and conversely that those not having a "Thomas Jefferson Education" will not become leaders. If there is no pattern of classics and mentors and if most leaders throughout history did not receive the type of education that DeMille claims they did, then the "leadership education" is not a leadership education at all, but merely one educational approach that DeMille favors.

Perhaps someone (like Thomas Jefferson) did have the education that DeMille argues for but no one else did, or maybe no one had the type of education DeMille argues for. Either way, the assertion that this education is what most likely will foster leaders is false. If we accept DeMille's arguments that his educational approach is the best way to foster leaders, we can only do so on faith because there is no support in history for what he claims.

Thomas Jefferson's education
I think it would be worthwhile to point out some things about Thomas Jefferson's education, since DeMille uses his education as the model. Thomas Jefferson was taught in a local school. At age 9 he started learning Latin, Greek, and French. When he was 14 he boarded with a minister would was also his teacher that taught him some of the classics. At age 16 he went to college and graduated two years later. After graduating college he worked under George Wythe
as a law clerk. This was the common approach for young men to learn law and eventually be able practice law themselves. Jefferson and Wythe became very close and Jefferson referred to Wythe as "his second father."

What aspects of Thomas Jefferson's education should we model? Learning Latin at age 9? Living away from home? Going to college at age 16? Clerking in a law office? How much of Jefferson's success can be attributed to his education, and how much to his natural intellect and abilities? Probably a little of each, but how much? It's important to understand this to make a wise decision about how to try to emulate him. Wouldn't it be absurd to claim that boarding with a minister for two years is the key to fostering great leaders and that this would be a "Thomas Jefferson Education?" What if learning Latin at age 9 is the key? What if it trains the mind like nothing else can? How many great Roman leaders knew Latin at age 9? (Probably all of them). Maybe that's the key to leadership: learning Latin at a young age. The point is that we need to make sure we don't get carried away in determining not only what made Thomas Jefferson great, but also extrapolating that and determining what made almost all other men great.

DeMille has taken some aspects of Jefferson's life and declared that those were the necessary elements of fostering Jefferson's leadership, but ignored so many other factors. But not only that, DeMille then claims that almost all leaders in history had these same necessary elements, but history says that hardly any leaders in history had those so-called necessary elements.

Why is Thomas Jefferson the model?
What about the education of George Washington? He felt that dancing and horseback riding were very important in the development of a man. He felt they helped foster strength and grace. Washington was known for his physical presence and the dignity for which he carried himself. It contributed greatly to the amount of respect and loyalty he received from those he led. He didn't know the classics and didn't know Latin or Greek, yet he is the "Father of Our Country" and perhaps one of the greatest men that lived, maybe even greater than Jefferson. Why should we favor Jefferson's education over Washington's? What about Joseph Smith? Why isn't his education the model? For some reason, DeMille picks Jefferson to be the model of how we should educate children for greatness, but there are plenty of other great men, maybe even greater, who could be the model.

Summary of Reason #1
DeMille for some reason picks Jefferson to be the model, picks certain aspects of his life to be the key elements that led to his greatness while discounting other aspects, and discounting the aspects of the lives of other great leaders. Then he extrapolates these selective aspects to apply to all leaders in history, even though history does not support these claims.

129 comments:

Rusty said...

I would tend to agree with you on this point to a great extent. I don’t believe that simply reading classics and having a mentor will make you a great leader. It may provide you with a good starting point, but leadership is more than knowledge. It is application. I don’t believe you can really say that all great leaders had this type of education. I think it would be interesting to see what the real common elements are. Personally I think it is rooted in faith and submission to God’s will, but I haven’t done any formal study on the matter. When we first looked at homeschooling and attended a conference on TJEd it wasn’t the classics and mentors that impacted me it was the idea of mission. It was the belief that each person has the capacity to seek out and follow God’s will for his/her life and that (in my opinion) is the real indicator of success. (The specific talk that impacted me was the opening address given at the TJEd forum in March of 2006).

I also think it is important to understand some distinctions in goals of TJEd. In society we often define leadership in a very specific light as to visibility and social recognition. When I hear DeMille speak on leadership he often uses the term statesman. He also defines the goals of statesmen relative to their individual mission. He lists the following as potential missions, but states that this list is not exclusive, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, liberate the captive, educate the ignorant, preach the gospel, heal the sick, etc. Statesmen serve. This doesn’t always show up as a Nobel prize winner or congressman.
Although this doesn’t really change your argument, for clarification sake his definition of a classic is a work that can be read, heard, seen, experienced over and over and you learn something new from it each time. This will be different for each person. He uses the term classic in a very personal way as it is a personal experience. The most important classic, your central classic, should be the standard by which all other classics are weighed. In most cases this will be some form of scripture. When experiencing and learning from “classics” one of the most important things you can do is determine if what you are learning is consistent with what your central classic teaches so that you can discern truth and error. The classics listed are suggestions to begin experiencing and evaluating classics due to the fact that the majority of people in our current system may not know where to begin. I would say that there are several books I’ve read that didn’t “speak” to me and that I wouldn’t call a classic that others would list in their top ten, but once again that is my opinion.
The term mentors, once again, is used much more broadly than you have defined it. I would hope we could agree that one should be careful to only “submit” to the guidance of a mentor who is of high moral character. However, mentors aren’t always more advanced in all areas. Mentors may just have insights and strengths in certain areas. I have had mentors that have helped me in my interpersonal relationships, with home management, child discipline, homeschooling, etc. Not all of these people were “formal” mentors some just listened and shared insights. DeMille does differentiate that when a student enters scholar phase they benefit from a formal mentor who can help them navigate the massive amount of scholarly material available, however I don’t believe this is always in the form of a paid guide. One of the books read at GWC is The Education of a Wandering Man. If you have read this you see that not all “education” must come from formal schooling. I’ve heard DeMille say the same thing. You start on the path of education and mentors will come (formal or informal) as you need and ask for them. I’ve also heard him say that sometimes authors of books through their works mentor, and even that “the spirit” should be your greatest mentor.

You said, "If great men and women become leaders for some other reasons besides studying the classics and having mentors, then that means that DeMille cannot claim that a "Thomas Jefferson Education" will have any bearing on developing future leaders," (I think that is faulty reasoning- you just stated there is value in studying the classics and discussing them with others who have and are studying them, Do you really believe that this practice won’t have ANY bearing on becoming a good leader? I agree it is not the ONLY path, but it certainly is a valuable tool when coupled with other experiences.)
You said, "The point is that we need to make sure we don't get carried away in determining not only what made Thomas Jefferson great, but also extrapolating that and determining what made almost all other men great." Exactly! This is such an individual process. We can’t say all children/people must have these skills or know these things to be great, because each of us has a different mission and path to take. It is only when we individualize our education and seek the guidance of our greatest mentor and source of truth (God, in my case) that we really know what we need. As a parent who has stewardship for His children, it is also my responsibility to seek that guidance on their behalf.
Cindy Clarke

J.L.L said...

rusty (or cindy):

Here's the thing. I know what DeMille says classics are (books that you can read over and over and learn something new). The problem is you can't use "classics" in one sense of "all the great leaders of the past read the classics" and "there are classics in every field and they are personal to you." Those are two very different ideas of "classics." DeMille sells the TJEd promise using the understanding of classics in one sense (like the definition I supplied and my assertion that it takes time for something to be considered a classic) but then switches to say "classics" are merely good books you like.

Same thing with "leader." He sells the TJEd promise that the "leaders" of history shaped the past, they are what have lead other people, but then switches to "you can be a leader of yourself."

You are trying to argue that a lot of value comes out of reading good books that you can learn over and over from. Yes I agree. And you argue that you don't have to be a CEO or President of the US or whatever to be a leader or influential person. Yes I agree.

DeMille switches meaning on these terms depending on what point he is trying to make.

That's the problem.

You can't say "you need to have an education like Thomas Jefferson and read the classics" (which to him was the Greek and Latin authors, probably in the original language), and then say this can include 7 Habits of highly Effective People or Wuthering Heights. I like those books, but they are not classics, and they are not anywhere close to the "classics" that DeMille argue that "nearly all great leaders" in the past have read.

Truth said...

Cindy -

If it was the personal mission part that grabbed you, why not pursue that via Covey or some other means? Why encourage the TJEd people?

Alison Moore Smith said...

JLL, you've hit the nail on the head. It's the fallacy of equivocation.

And aside from a study of illogic, let's just be clear about something. Everyone (remotely educated) knows what a "classic" is. DeMille can't hijack the word and change it to mean whatever he feels like to suit his purposes. It means what it means. He needs to come up with his own word to identify his list of favorite books. I suggest:

Oliver DeMille's Favorite Book List Which Most Particularly Include My Own

J.L.L said...

In the Utah-hs Yahoo group, I brought up how Cincinnatus and Joan of Arc most likely didn't study the classics and there's no evidence that they did. Someone posted a response to this. Below is that person's response. I will add another comment here which was my response to that person. I think this is a good example of people just believing what DeMille says about past leaders and not looking into things themselves at all.

"Cincinnatus was of the patrician (noble) not plebian (merchant/farmer/tradesman) class. He served as Consul in 460 BC. This was the highest elected political office of the Roman Republic. In this position, he was the highest civil and military magistrate and head of government. If traditions of the day held true in his case, as is probable, he would have had an extensive education conducted by a private tutor in his home in all the learning available in his day, which was significant and would include languages, literature, history, geography, mythology, religion, public speaking, military tactics, physical training, politics etc. The Consul office at this point in time was NEVER given to a person of the plebian class and he himself was against the inclusion of Plebians in government service. Only patricians served in government at this time. He lived in a time and place when learning was at its apex. He was in exile (and thus on the "farm") because of his support of his eminent son in his campaign for consul. He was called back into duty as dictator (an office provided by the government of the day on conditions of emergency for 6 months only) when such an emergency arose.

PARTIAL AND BRIEF list of most important extant classics Cincinnatus would have studied: Homer's (Illiad and Odyssey), Hesiod (Theogeny and Works and Days), Solon, Thales, Pythagoras, Dionysian festival plays (Aeschylus, Sophocles etc.) and Elysian Mysteries and Rites, Empedocles, Bacchylides, Pindar, Parmenides, Phidias sculpture and architecture including the Parthenon and other temples, Draco, Myron, Heraclitus, Socrates, Herodotus

Joan of Arc (check out http://www.maidofheaven.com/joanofarc_long_biography.asp for further research and http://departments.kings.edu/womens_history/joaninfo.html for a great bibliographic source of more info and web resources listing) was born to parents who were eminent in their community. Her father served as the Seargent with the Mayor and Provost governing the town. He was the owner of 50 acres and the year Joan was seven purchased a Chateau with a friend to be a sanctuary to those needing political asylum. He represented the city as one of the seven notables and later was a delegate representing the city. He was present in Reims at the coronation of the king. Their family was very involved and educated on the political and geographical conflicts of the day (Joan's home town was claimed by both England and the Burgundies--at one point the city was pillaged, including Joan's beloved churched being burned to such an extent that she had to go to a neighboring church to worship). All of this, without a doubt had an influence inspiring her in her life mission.

Joan's mother was extremely intelligent as is evident in her defense of Joan after her death. Here is an excerpt from Joan's mother's testimony--check out this vocabulary as she speaks and pleads in Joan's behalf:

"Because the people suffered so much, she had a great compassion for them in her heart and despite her youth she would fast and pray for them with great devotion and fervor. She never thought, spoke or did anything against the faith. Certain enemies had her arraigned in a religious trial. Despite her disclaimers and appeals, both tacit and expressed, and without any help given to her defense, she was put through a perfidious, violent, iniquitous and sinful trial. The judges condemned her falsely, damnably and criminally, and put her to death in a cruel manner by fire. For the damnation of their souls and in notorious, infamous and irreparable loss to me, Isabelle, and mine... I demand that her name be restored."

Joan was christened with a godfather and three godmothers (one was the wife of the mayor) who would all have been mentors to her throughout her life. Her mother taught her the arts of sewing and spinning (in which she excelled by her own statement) as well as the precepts of the Catholic faith including (in her mother's own words) the Pater Noster, Ave Maria and Apostles Creed as well as the teachings of the Bible. Joan was very religious and pious and spend much time worshipping in the local church. She was compassionate, served the needy in her community and was well-thought of and loved by all. She had three older brothers and one younger sister. She was led by heavenly messengers including St. Michael. When you read of her actions, poise, faith and amazing trial, it is obvious that you are dealing with a young woman who is 1) articulate, intelligent and wise beyond the religious "sages" of her day and 2) obviously inspired and guided by God. She dictated many letters throughout her divinely inspired campaign to be sent to government leaders and citizens. She was both mentored and followed by persons and citizens of wisdom and eminence as she carried out her quest and mission. "

[end of this person's email]

J.L.L said...

and this was my response to the above email:

--- In Utah-hs@yahoogroups.com, Michele xxxxxx> wrote:
> If traditions of the day held true in his case, as is probable, he would have had an extensive education conducted by a private tutor in his home in all the learning available in his day, which was significant and would include languages, literature, history, geography, mythology, religion, public speaking, military tactics, physical training, politics etc.

"If traditions of the day held true in his case"

What traditions are you talking about? Where are you getting the "traditions of the day" of the area around Rome in 500 B.C.? You mean all the research you and DeMille have done just boils down to what you think were the "traditions of his day?" Do you have any primary sources that support your claims?

> Cincinnatus would have studied: Homer's (Illiad and Odyssey), Hesiod (Theogeny and Works and Days), Solon, Thales, Pythagoras, Dionysian festival plays (Aeschylus, Sophocles etc.) and Elysian Mysteries and Rites, Empedocles, Bacchylides, Pindar, Parmenides, Phidias sculpture and architecture including the Parthenon and other temples, Draco, Myron, Heraclitus, Socrates, Herodotus

He "would have?" This is not evidence at all.

Cincinnatus was not Greek. The Romans and the Greeks had limited interaction until the Helenistic Era, after Alexander the Great. Cincinnatus lived around 500-430 BC and Roman wars with Greece didn't start until about 280 BC and conquest of Greece not until around 200 BC. Sophocles wasn't born until 495 BC, Socrates died in 399 BC, Herodotus was born in 484 BC. A lot of their works (Socrates never even wrote anything, Plato wrote what he said) didn't become appreciated, let alone widespread, for many years after they died. You are claiming that it was "tradition of the time" that boys living around Rome in 500 BC were being tutored in works by men who were not even born yet, in a foreign land they had little contact with, in a language that few knew in their area, and this was central to their "education" to becoming a leaders. Let's just not make stuff up here.

By the way, they didn't even start building the Parthenon until 447 BC, years after Cincinnatus was selected dictator, and they finished it around the time he died.

> Joan of Arc (check out http://www.maidofheaven.com/joanofarc_long_biography.asp for further research and http://departments.kings.edu/womens_history/joaninfo.html for a great bibliographic source of more info and web resources listing) was born to parents who were eminent in their community... All of this, without a doubt had an influence inspiring her in her life mission.
> Joan's mother was extremely intelligent as is evident in her defense of Joan after her death.
> Joan was christened...
> Her mother taught her the arts of sewing and spinning (in which she excelled by her own statement) as well as the precepts of the Catholic faith ...
> Joan was very religious and pious and spend much time worshipping in the local church.
> She was compassionate, served the needy in her community and was well-thought of and loved by all.
> She was led by heavenly messengers including St. Michael.
> When you read of her actions, poise, faith and amazing trial, it is obvious that you are dealing with a young woman who is 1) articulate, intelligent and wise beyond the religious "sages" of her day and 2) obviously inspired and guided by > She was both mentored and followed by persons and citizens of wisdom and eminence as she carried out her quest and mission.

That's it? Her father was the sergeant and her mother taught her homemaking skills like sewing that was common for girls of the day, and for her to be pious? C'mon, this is not evidence that Joan read anything especially the classics, let alone could read. There's not even evidence that they even had the Bible, since at that time the clergy wouldn't allow that. All you did is give examples of the personality of Joan as if that was evidence that she had a TJ Education.

Michele, you need to show that these people read the classics. You need some primary sources showing this. In fact, you need to show that these people read the classics as much or more than other people of their day. And that's just to show if classics were even important to them being leaders. This doesn't even get into whether they studied 5000-8000 hours like DeMille says you need to do, and whether their parents did TJEd like DeMille says you have to now. We are so far removed from what DeMille says parents need to do for a "leadership education."

[end of my email]

J.L.L said...

Now I would like to comment some on that email exchange.

This person said she laughed out loud when I initially said that it was unlikely that Cincinnatus read the classics:

"I laughed out loud at the amazingly false and obviously non-researched assertion that the Cincinnatus "most likely had no access to classics because there weren't many at the time (500 B.C.), and they would have been scarce, and he may not have even been literate since he was a small farmer. No indication that he had any mentoring." YIKES! Sounds like the gobbledy gook you find in modern dumbed-down textbooks!"

So to her, this was "gobbledy gook' that you find in "modern dumbed-down textbooks."

But then she proceeds to tell me that Cincinnatus "would have" read Socrates, Sophocles, and Herodotus (who weren't alive yet) and that he "would have" studied the Parthenon (which wasn't built yet. This to me is sad. Someone has told her that this is what Cincinnatus "would have" studied, and she believed it, to the point that she laughed at me when I suggested that he most likely would not have read any classics. She laughed. To me, it's not the mistake in timelines or making a mistake in claiming something that on further research you find to be false. That happens. But she laughed at it and called it "gobbley gook." This is someone that I think cannot accept any information out of her paradigm, her worldview, that she has been given. This really is disturbing to me. This is not like scientific evidence proving religion to be false. This is someone who is using the same historical information as me but just not being able to recognize that she is making impossible claims, and laughing about it when it is pointed out. I don't what else I can do here.

It's not just with Cincinnatus, either. She paints a picture of the personal attributes of Joan of Arc as if this somehow indicates she read the classics or had a TJ Ed. There's no evidence, not even a hint, that she read the classics. In fact, if you follow the links she provided, you'll see contemporaries of Joan saying how she was poor farming girl who tended hear father's sheep all day, and who as brought up just like all the other girls. This person's own links refute her points. But she doesn't see it.

I get worried when there are such obvious problems of understanding and discernment like this. How can a person laugh and argue so strongly about things that are so easily proven to be false, and why can't they see it?

Donna said...

Oh my. Why would someone want to spend their precious mind and family's time being "anti" anything? Anti-ism often comes encased in a narrow, hardening of the categories, and a bent toward presenting extracted facts in such a way to create a negative picture. Anti-ism is often borne out of an ax to grind, resentment, or a distorted sense of self or perception of hurt.

As latter-day Saints I would think that we would find such beneath us. The anti-Christians of Christ's time maligned Christ and anti-Mormons of today malign members of the church and distort our beliefs. The same is true of the anti-Republicans and the anti-Democrats. Hamilton demonized Jefferson and visa versa. Strong opinions for sure.

Why not promote the philosophy you believe in? Shout it from the mountain tops. Share anecdotal evidence of its value and benefits, because it is too early to have any scientific data. Open a website and save the world by articulating your views of how you think a child should be educated.

Here is your chance.

Agency can be used to build.

Truth said...

Donna - are you saying one should not engage in critical thinking under any circumstance?

I don't view it as a waste if I can open the eyes of just one TJEd devotee and prevent them from subjecting their children to this impoverished pedagogy. I am doing it out of the goodness of my heart. I am seeing too many relatives & acquaintances spend time and money on this.

J.L.L said...

Donna, why is that DeMille and others in TJEd can claim whatever they want and no one can respond? Why is it that I bring up points and make counterpoints, and you and others just comment on the fact that I am even challenging anything.

This is how it works: you make a statement that you claim is fact. Other people respond about whether that statement is true. That's not being anti-anything.

Donna, is it ok for DeMille to say that Joan of Arc studied the classics when she didn't? It's wrong for me to point out that that's not true, but it's not wrong for DeMille to make a false claim?

Alison Moore Smith said...

You are claiming that it was "tradition of the time" that boys living around Rome in 500 BC were being tutored in works by men who were not even born yet, in a foreign land they had little contact with, in a language that few knew in their area, and this was central to their "education" to becoming a leaders. Let's just not make stuff up here.

Classic. No pun intended.

Why not promote the philosophy you believe in?

Donna, perhaps you should ask the leaders of the LDS church why they are AGAINST same-sex marriage?

Seriously, you aren't making a case for TJEd by posting something that you could have refuted yourself with about 15 seconds of thought. Obviously there are lots of reasons to speak out against lots of things. You really couldn't think of ANY before posting?

I speak out BECAUSE--just as with unschooling over a decade ago--I hear from people on a regular basis who are having great difficulty homeschooling BECAUSE they were sucked in by an unsound philosophy. I think it's worth warning other about. I think it's worth saving them and their kids the pain.

And the problem is compounded by the fact that OD et. al. make their living promoting it. He has a built in conflict of interest and he's not managing it, he's manipulating it.

So, let's get down to the truth. TJEd is BUILT on an anti-establishment, anti-school sentiment. (You've heard of the "conveyor belt," right?) Did you get that? ANTI. So, if you've got a problem with anti anything, you can start by blasting Mr. Oliver.

Here is your chance.

Alison Moore Smith said...

Oh, and just for fun, Donna, let me point out something. Your post is anti-this-blog. Why would you want to spend your precious mind and family's time being "anti" anything?

J.L.L said...

That's a good point about that church being against same-sex marriages, Alison.

What people need to keep in mind is that part of making statements and assertions is defending them when people challenge them. The fact that they are challenged is not a problem, but actually part of asserting.

For me, the fact that people are challenging what I say is an indication that I am reaching people. And by other people challenging my assertions, it gives me more opportunity to prove my points, perhaps using different angles or drawing on experiences of the other person. The initial issuance of my assertions isn't really the meat of it all to me. It's when people challenge them and then we get to further discuss them.

What inevitably happens is that both parties come to understand each other better, and often they both adjust their opinions slightly, or maybe even a lot (I know I have in the past). To me it's not confrontational (but it could be). It's part of coming to an understanding. Not until people challenge what I say to I really understand how they see the issue.

Anyway, done with my sermon.

Anonymous said...

Hi JLL, thank you for your post. I was just looking at Joseph Smith for a bit and noticed that at his name he doesn't have classics or mentors. I don't know much about anyone else, but didn't Joseph Smith study the Bible? Isn't that a classic? And wasn't he mentored by Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and other angels?

J.L.L said...

Anonymous, I didn't place an x under the classics column for Joseph Smith because although he did read the Bible that's probably the only classic he probably studied. Maybe he studied a few other things, but he did not have much schooling at all. He certainly didn't spend a lot of time studying anything, especially classics. And I doubt he had studied anything any more than his brothers or any other boy in his area.

As for a mentor. You could count deity as mentors in a sense, but I am trying to stick to the same sense that DeMille uses for a mentor. Did Heavenly Father and Jesus interact in a way akin to how George Wythe interacted with Thomas Jefferson? I don't think it's really comparable. God being a "mentor" like that I don't think fits in that sense.

But we are not looking to see if leaders from history ever read a book we could call a classic or ever had an influential person in his life. If that were the standard then practically every person who ever lived would qualify (and we couldn't say that classics and mentors are what made the difference for leaders). We are looking to see if DeMille's claims are true, that great leaders had some sort of extra measure of classics and mentors in the sense that DeMille uses the terms and as he describes them. Because if they don't need an extra measure, then the 5000-8000 hours of mentored study wouldn't be necessary. If we consider that Joseph Smith "read the classics" then all you have to do to satisfy "reading the classics" to become a leader is to read the Bible periodically. I don't think that's consistent with what DeMille says is required for a leadership education.

Thanks for the post. Let me know your thoughts. It sure is refreshing to get an actually comment\question\challenge on a point on the blog about TJEd.

Donna said...

I am LDS. I have spoken out on the Prop 8. I see the church is not on an attack campaign but urged members to support the traditional concept of marriage between a man and woman.

My focus was in promoting the true meaning and purpose of marriage. Matrimony literally means motherhood. Holy is sacred and set apart for a sacred purpose.

I see no connection with what you are doing here.

Donna said...

I was in earnest in my suggestion that you articulate your philosophy of education and put it out there.

Truth said...

Donna - I think he briefly mentioned it in his first post.

But the purpose of this blog isn't to advocate a particular brand of education, but rather to scrutinize the claims of one brand. DeMille makes some bold claims; if his claims are correct, subjecting them to scrutiny will only strengthen his cause.

Donna said...

My husband is out of town, my oldest dd is at work, my youngest dd is on a hike. I have a little time.

Do not fool yourself into thinking that you are engaged in critical thing or discussion. This is neither discussion nor critical thinking. Unless cynicism and criticism qualify. Contentious debate and critical thinking are not the same thing. Nor are they discussion. Discussion is open, debate is for the prideful purpose of winning. In fact, one does not even have to be right to win in debate. Debate exploits the lack of knowledge or skill of one, while promoting the skill of another. Debate separates, rather than illuminates.

I disagree with your narrow definitions of classic and mentor.

If you define your terms narrow enough you can create a straw man to bash.
This is common in anti-Mormon writing and in politics. Neither The American Heritage Dictionary nor The Noah Websters 1828 Dictionary are so limiting in their definitions.

At first glance it "appears" like you did some homework. However, after deeper thought I find that it was minimal at best. Wiki is not the end all. The following statements are not definitive, are not evidentiary, and therefore do not constitute a body of facts:
1. "No indication" is used several times. The reader has "no indication" of how valid this is because they do not know the extent of your studies.

2. "Almost certainly" in regards to Joan of Arc. Facts are certain. You are not certain? One does not have to be able to read to be strongly influenced by a classic. A classic can be taught to you, as I taught my toddlers and pre-schoolers the scriptures. Here you offer no proof so, since you offered your opinion I will offer mine. I believe Joan did have a classic in the Bible whether she could read it or not, it greatly influenced her actions. The same goes for Joseph Smith, but he could read and he changed the world because he was influenced by what he read and accepted the call.

3. "Little education." should have read little formal education. though Joseph had little formal education, he tried to rectify that in founding the University of Nauvoo, and working to learn Hebrew. Mother Teresa knew her Bible too.

DeMille speaks of the importance of a central canon, a classic you look to for truth. For many of the people you listed scriptures would be their classic. Many people go to church, read the scriptures and attend the temple but it does not influence them enough. Hence the parable of the Ten Virgins.

4."Most likely" just does not cut it as evidence either. Dwight went to West Point. No classics? No mentors? Where is your proof? Are you sure? It appears that there is evidence to the contrary.
Peter was a Jew. Unlearned in the scriptures? Are you sure?


American Heritage:
1. An artist, author, or work generally considered to be of the highest rank or excellence, especially one of enduring significance.

2. A work recognized as definitive in its field.

3a. A literary work of ancient Greece or Rome. b. classics The languages and literature of ancient Greece and Rome. Used with the. c. One that is of the highest rank or class: The car was a classic of automotive design.

4. A typical or traditional example.

5. Informal A superior or unusual example of its kind: The reason he gave for being late was a classic.

6. A traditional event, especially a major sporting event that is held annually: a golf classic.

Noah Webster's 1828
CLASSIC, n.
1. An author of the first rank; a writer whose style is pure, correct, and refined; primarily, a Greek or Roman author of this character; but the word is applied to writers of a like character in any nation.

2. A book written by an author of the first class.

What about mentor?

American Heritage:

1. A wise and trusted counselor or teacher. 2. Mentor Greek Mythology Odysseus's trusted counselor, in whose guise Athena became the guardian and teacher of Telemachus.

Mentor goes back to Greek mythology and deals with a non-mortal guide.

Under the above definitions of classic and mentor, there is much room. A mentor can be a book like scripture that you use as a guide. A mentor can be ministering angels. Joan had visions as did Columbus, and Joseph Smith. Washington sought Heaven's aide and guidance. As did Lincoln.

Washington may not have been fluent in Greek and Latin, but he was most assuredly influenced by the writings of a French Jesuit which managed to influence George's character and life though the Jesuit died before George was born. George was greatly influenced by his older half-brother Lawrence. George was also a prolific writer.http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/

I just saw some recent posts and I reply:
I do not believe DeMille claimed that greats had an "extra measure," but that they were influenced by mentors and classics that helped shape their character.

Joseph Smith did not become a leader until he was an adult and he had more than a periodic acquaintance with the scriptures. I would say that he was powerfully influenced by the scriptures.

The question is not whether people read classics but that the classics influenced them and helped them become who they were.

DeMille talks about establishing a central canon, reading from it daily, measuring your life by it, teaching it to others... Then studying other classics that support your central classic.

Now, one can support by revealing truth and sometimes that can happen by compare and contrast. Other times that can happen by revealing the outcomes of truths and their counterfeits.

No one is shutting you down. However, I feel you do the home education community a disservice in attacking other philosophies. I think President Hinckley cautioned about cynicism.

You have not convinced me with cursory arguments. A lot of time and effort has been spent in creating this and responding to it that could have been spent leading people to higher ground.

Your "Number One Reason" is a flat argument. The vast assumptions were too numerous. I have more important things to do than remain engaged here. So do you. However, you are blinded by your passion and too busy patting each other on the back.

Time to get on with my family. You can have your mutual admiration society. I just think you are a pot calling a kettle black. I am done, I have no more time for this.

Adios.

Alison Moore Smith said...

JLL, I asked on the list about the strange exchange you quoted above. It was startling, to say the least.

Why would she make such strong assertions about something she really had no knowledge of? Here are the choices I can see:

(1) She got the info from Oliver DeMille and/or GWC and had misplaced trust in him/it.

(2) She did not know how to do meaningful research and...guessed?

(3) She used some really bad sources (although from what I skimmed, the sources she gave didn't back up her assertions).

Coming from someone who is claiming to be getting AND teaching "leadership education," I think the answer is meaningful.

Alison Moore Smith said...

Donna, you completely miss the point. DeMille (and a number of his followers with whom I have conversed repeatedly) make *very specific claims.* Claims, for example, that Joan of Arc was educated in the way of Thomas Jefferson Education (which, by the way, is NOT the way Thomas Jefferson himself was even educated).

You claim that saying "there is no indication" is not proof that she did not have a TJEd. Of course not. There is no attempt to prove a negative.

The point is to prove they DID. The point is to try to get you to see that DeMille can NOT--with any academic reason or intellectual honesty--make the outrageous claims he does WITHOUT PROOF. And he has none.

That is what "no indication" means! It means there is NOTHING in the historical record to substantiate his claims. And since there are NONE, he cannot honestly make such claims.

That's like me telling people you were born with three heads and two were amputated with remarkably advanced, alien-based, scar-free surgery. When you say there is no proof, I'll say, "Saying there is no proof is 'minimal research at best.'"

Burden of proof on the one who makes the claim, sister. That would be OD and his followers who repeat them.

Discussions like this are what concern me! Followers of his who toe the line with ridiculous defenses that are devoid of logic are EXACTLY why I speak out about this. Wake up!

At least the insipid Saxon math doesn't cost you so dearly, even if people buy it up blindly just like TJEd.

You haven't, btw, reconciled the problem your posts show. Why is it bad for JLL to post his objections to TJEd, but fine for YOU to post objections to his blog?

And your spin that the church is not against same-sex marriage is preposterous. Apparently you haven't been reading the first presidency letters of the last half a dozen years?

But if it makes you feel better, this blog isn't anti-TJEd. It is pro-look-at-all-the-inconsistencies-and-logical-fallacies-in-TJEd.

That just gives me warm fuzzies.

Truth said...

"If you define your terms narrow enough you can create a straw man to bash."

Donna - you have just expressed the essence of DeMille's approach to writing and speaking. Public education is a conveyor belt; attack it. People doing TJEd wrong are on the conveyor belt; attack them. There are four American ideals, and our country has lost them; attack it. And on and on. Even here you are resorting to ad hominem attacks rather than actually addressing the issues at hand:

"Do not fool yourself into thinking that you are engaged in critical thing or discussion"

" you are blinded by your passion and too busy patting each other on the back"

"You can have your mutual admiration society"

"I just think you are a pot calling a kettle black"

Anonymous said...

Donna, it looked like you started out giving a decent argument about the definition of mentors and classics even copying the def. from two dictionaries, but then the argument ended. Even though I was ready to disagree with your point, I was glad that there would be a decent discussion. But then you never finished your point and ended by attacking J.L.L. as quoted above. Why is it so hard to defend TJed?

The only decent defensive arguments I've seen for TJED are from those who disagree with DeMille on some points and try to adapt it their families and circumstance, but if you change it, then why do it? Just glean the good things and do your own thing without clinging to "Dr." DeMille.

J.L.L said...

Lots of good points and discussions. I won't be able to respond to everyone or everyone's posts (but that's ok, I'm not the the only one in the discussion)

Donna, I didn't use wikipedia as my "source" for whether they read the classics or had mentors. I just linked to wikipedia so people could read something about the person if they didn't know anything about them. Like Cincinnatus, how many people really know who he was or when he lived? I have Roman histories in the original right here next to me, plus a bunch of other histories. But they aren't online. Please don't assume that a link to a wikipedia entry means that's the source I used.

BTW, you don't need to make excuses why you can't "post as much as you like" or "you have limited time." I see pople do that all the time, as if their response would just be a home run if they didn't have these external issues. It's an attempt to get the reader to think that you really do have great responses, it's just that you can't write it completely at this time. It's fine if you only pick one thing or whatever. No one expects anyone to respond to everything and it's ok if you don't.

"Do not fool yourself into thinking that you are engaged in critical thing or discussion. This is neither discussion nor critical thinking. Unless cynicism and criticism qualify. Contentious debate and critical thinking are not the same thing. Nor are they discussion. Discussion is open, debate is for the prideful purpose of winning."

This is totally open. Anyone come comment anonymously. How strange it is that there were consistently calls to shut me up and ban me on the Utah-hs list, and I am the one being accused of not having a discussion.

"I disagree with your narrow definitions of classic and mentor.
If you define your terms narrow enough you can create a straw man to bash."

Look, I've said this over and over. I use the terms in the sense that DeMille uses the terms. I am trying to be consistent when I take what DeMille claims about leaders in the past studying the classics and having mentors and what evidence we have that that was the case. You actually make my point that how we understand "classics" and "mentors" matters when we are discussing claims and evidence. Socrates said the first thing people should do when debating anything is to define terms. That's why one of the first things I did in Reason #1 was clarify what "classics" and "mentors" mean in my investigation of leaders and that I tried to make it consistent with what DeMille said they were. Isn't this the proper approach?

You mention Joseph Smith and the Apostle Paul. Yes they read the scriptures. So are you saying to satisfy the requirements for "Leadership Education" is that all you have to do is read the scriptures? Then DeMille isn't even consistent with himself that any kind of vigorous study is required, or even anything else but the scriptures. Is that right?

I am not using "classics" and "mentors" in a narrow way to create strawman arguments. I am not switching definitions. DeMille is. DeMille is not consistent. And Reason #1 shows this. And it shows that DeMille cannot claim to have discovered through his own research that past leaders had read the classics and had mentors if there is no evidence that they did. His research had to have shown they did, yet there isn't any evidence. So you can't accuse me of trying to do what DeMille did only to find that DeMille is wrong. I am actively looking. Everyone in TJEd is saying I'm wrong and agreeing with DeMille. People need to show us common folk where this evidence is, because no one else but DeMille can find it. And apparently he's not sharing it with other parents in TJEd, because you see what happens when someone does try to show evidence: they end up with totally false statements that are easily shown to be wrong (see the emails about Cincinnatus above).

"Washington may not have been fluent in Greek and Latin, but he was most assuredly influenced by the writings of a French Jesuit which managed to influence George's character and life though the Jesuit died before George was born."

That's not a classic! Seriously, c'mon. And merely and "influential person" is not a mentor. If that's the case, then everything anyone does in TJEd with a "mentor" just needs to be someone that influences them. Then everyone throughout time has had a mentor. So then what makes some leaders and others not?

Look, you have to be consistent. You and DeMille cannot claim that you need 5000-8000 hours of "mentored" study of the "classics" and then say that that means read the scriptures and a few others books and have people influence you for good.

Is the following quote from DeMille true? Does it describe Joseph Smith, George Washington, Joan of Arc (pick any other leader):

"The Self-Directed Scholar studies eight to twelve hours a day, five to six days a week, ten to twelve months a year for three to four years. This 5,000 to 8,000 hours of intense study builds a huge base of knowledge and skill which can be applied to whatever mission the later adult embarks.

This model is based solidly on the experience of great leaders of history and how they were educated - the great statesmen, thinkers, artists, businessmen, generals, historians, philosophers, mathematicians, prophets, sages, composers, and entrepreneurs. 'Success' may be possible without a superb Leadership Eduction, but lasting freedom is not." Leadership Education, p.207

He mentions "prophets." Did Joseph Smith study intensely for 5000-8000 hours to become a leader? Noah, Moses, Peter, etc.? Did Cincinnatus do this? George Washington, Abigail Adams, etc., etc.?

Donna, you are actually making my point. Joseph Smith, George Washington, Joan of Arc, etc. became great leaders without doing all these things DeMille says you need to do for a "leadership education." That IS my point.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, I thought I was done. I found myself back here this morning.

This is exactly what I mean about spin. When debators take phrases and quotes out of context or even restate them with their spin and then attack the new construction. This especially true when addressing statements made over a period of time. Like the statement on the new world order. The citation is not dated. Those reading it have no idea that it is almost a decade old (but no date was added in the citation and the reader just has to assume you are speaking presently)and the writer of the statement may have learned more, events may have shifted, and the writer may or may not agree with that statement today. Precisely why I do not enjoy debate or even this medium.

Ah, you completely missed the entire point made on Proposition 8. That was your spin on what was stated and not what was stated.
You said...
"And your spin that the church is not against same-sex marriage..."

That point was never made or even attempted to be made by me! The point was how the church uses their influence is not in bashing gays or sexual orientation, but in supporting traditional marriage and traditional families:

http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/commentary/california-and-same-sex-marriage


What was actually stated by me was: "I see the church is not on an attack campaign but urged members to support the traditional concept of marriage between a man and woman." That does not seem to be their strategy. I was not inferring that they do not oppose but only that they avoid contention and criticism as a means to further their cause.

Elsewhere Elder Oaks has said "Our doctrines obviously condemn those who engage in so-called “gay bashing”—physical or verbal attacks on persons thought to be involved in homosexual or lesbian behavior..." The rest of the talk is great too.
http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=43786e9ce9b1c010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1

The leaders of the church make a big distinction between attraction and action. But even then they are simply stating doctrine about actions God considers sinful and their tone and demeanor is not one of attack.

The original point I made dealt with how we choose to go about getting the results we are looking for and how we use our influence to do so.

It had nothing to do with feeling warm fuzzies. I believe in optimism and diplomacy. I am not there yet, but have come a long way. I am not into "the feel good gospel" and warm fuzzies are not my style.

Elder Ballard has suggested, "As you participate in this conversation and utilize the tools of new media, remember who you are—Latter-day Saints. Remember, as the proverb states, that “a soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). And remember that contention is of the devil (see 3 Nephi 11:29). There is no need to argue or contend with others regarding our beliefs. There is no need to become defensive or belligerent. "

I feel this is valuable counsel on anything we engage in trying to change using the internet. I feel it valuable in this case as well.

As far as what DeMille claims and the spin you place on it, I feel that this may have more to do with being offended than by what he actually said.

I remember well the violent response of some women to Elder Benson's talk to the Mothers in Zion and Sister Beck's talk about Women Who Know. The angry spin on their words were more interpretations than reality. Those who contentiously debated them felt they were doing everyone a service. The disservice came in the spin.

I have never heard or read DeMille to claim that greats were educated in "exactly" the way Thomas Jefferson was, or that they even had an "extra measure" available to them. We all are smart enough to realize that. Even though some of the founders had a traditional classical education, certainly not all of them. Ben Franklin is one that comes to mind. Though he attended Latin School for two years, he was largely self taught because he had an insatiable appetite for reading and learning. Even Jefferson had to mentor Madison further by sending a trunk of books and giving him counsel. So what point did DeMille try to drive home? DeMille simply made the point that they had mentors and classics, and that having some common ground (the magnitude of scripture) for a culture is vital.

The point can be made that everyone has a core phase. The quality of that core phase and what is passed on may differ.

Yes, Jefferson had been trained in Greek and Latin. He also learned Anglo-Saxon to prepare for the bar, after graduation. He also worked on his French. Who is to say whether or not he would have read anything that was written after him like The Communist Manifesto etc. He was a prolific writer, I have read a biography and many non-gwc articles on Jefferson and I have not read him deeply enough, beyond that to discover what he thought of his contemporary Jane Austen.

Though Jefferson had schooling he also did a lot of self education. Jefferson's self education was enormous and few there are who can compare. I do not think DeMille ever inferred that any or all great men and women had an education of the magnitude(the depth and breadth)of Jefferson's. DeMille has pointed out the influence of Mentors and Classics, and more especially, core classics that were a source of values. A point he makes in his book. He speaks of starting with yourself and establishing your central canon. Even there he uses "The Closing of the American Mind" as the back drop for his point.

I feel that DeMille was not inferring that no one has a classical education or even that no one has a core classic. I am sure he can list several people that have both that were not that way because of him. He has said that the more elements you have, and I think he realizes that some of these things are easier to come by and easier to implement than others. I have never seen it presented as an all or nothing.

The reality is that even within the LDS culture many people do not read their scriptures daily, fewer read classics, and there are many that read either mind candy only or little else. Hence, the admonitions by President Hinckley, Monson, and Benson.

I really feel this is much ado...

J.L.L said...

Anonymous, fine, I am for making claims that are true about past leaders. I am for parents knowing that Joan of Arc spent her time tending sheep and didn't read much. I am for parents understanding that people become leaders through all different methods. I am for people being aware that others may try to get them to believe things that are false about leaders and how you should educate your child.

"I do not think DeMille ever inferred that any or all great men and women had an education of the magnitude(the depth and breadth)of Jefferson's. DeMille has pointed out the influence of Mentors and Classics, and more especially, core classics that were a source of values."

No, DeMille says that virtually all great leaders in the past had a leadership education, which includes vigorous study of the classics. This is all plain in his books and I showed this on the blog. And DeMille doesn't argue that classics merely give you your "core values" but gives you "huge base of knowledge and skill which can be applied to whatever mission the later adult embarks."

"The Self-Directed Scholar studies eight to twelve hours a day, five to six days a week, ten to twelve months a year for three to four years. This 5,000 to 8,000 hours of intense study builds a huge base of knowledge and skill which can be applied to whatever mission the later adult embarks. This model is based solidly on the experience of great leaders of history and how they were educated." Leadership Education, p.207"

"Find a great leader in history, and you will nearly always find two central elements of their education – classics and mentors. From Lincoln, Jefferson and Washington to Ghandi, Newton and John Locke, to Abigail Adams, Mother Theresa and Joan of Arc – great men and women of history studied other great men and women. ” A Thomas Jefferson Education, p. 37

"This is how the great leaders of history learned. They read classics and had these sorts of discussions and were really pushed (by inspiration and internal drive, not forced requirements) by mentors.” A Thomas Jefferson Education, p. 47

"The greatest leaders in history used a very simple curriculum. They read the classics, they discussed them with a mentor who accepted only quality work, and they applied what they learned to real life.” A Thomas Jefferson Education, p.55

"Leadership Education is more than just a collection of ideas. It is a recounting of a process by which scholars such as Thomas Jefferson, Isaac Newton, Marie Curie and Winston Churchill achieved excellence in scholarship and personal development. And we do not consider ourselves the authors of this process as much as its biographers." Leadership Education, p.59

"We cannot expect to enter this new country and suppose that it will be tamed for us, or that we will master it upon our first arrival. However, the path we walk through this country is tried and true. Great leaders and countless great citizens have been invited by trusted mentors to walk this way." Leadership Education, Appendix

"This model is based solidly on the experience of great leaders of history and how they were educated - the great statesmen, thinkers, artists, businessmen, generals, historians, philosophers, mathematicians, prophets, sages, composers, and entrepreneurs. 'Success' may be possible without a superb Leadership Eduction, but lasting freedom is not." Leadership Education, p.207

"I have never seen it presented as an all or nothing."

I think the above quotes show that it is all or nothing, but just in case they don't, take these:

"One cannot modify the details of Leadership Education without also modifying the outcome. The principles we enumerate below do not pretend to be everything to everyone, but they are what they are - A Leadership Education." Leadership Education, p.59

"Trust the process..." Leadership Education, p.195

"Leaders will remember lessons of Core and 'trust the process,' knowing that its fruits are worth its labors." Leadership Education, p.266

"Each of the Seven Keys of Great Teaching is based on principle, rather than expediency. When they are applied, learning occurs. When they are ignored or rejected, the quantity and quality of education decreases. "Leadership Education, p. 34 (emphasis original)

Without this Leadership Education, we are doomed:

"Without Leadership Education, no nation maintains its liberty or its prosperity. Without Leadership Education, the two other traditions of education ultimately decline, creating a "dark age" of learning." Leadership Education, p.3

"Eventually without Leadership Education, great and powerful nations decline and lose their influence for good in the world. Without Leadership Education, the future is bleak." Leadership Education, p.3

"The only historically proven solution capable of averting this danger is high quality Leadership Education. The liberty, prosperity and stability of future civilizations are dependent upon the leaders of tomorrow getting a Leadership Education today." Leadership Education, p.4

"America is in desperate need of families and schools that do Scholar Phase." Leadership Education, p.223

Truth said...

Anonymous -

Wouldn't you agree that classics and mentors are another way of saying "great books" and "great teachers"? I definitely have no quarrel with the idea that most great leaders have the common thread of good literature and good mentoring/teaching.

Donna said...

I know you take issue with the fact that it costs money to take classes to learn this. If you were not raised in the American system of Government schools, how long would it take to learn it and how much would it cost? We do not see the real costs because those costs are paid through taxes and by businesses. The seminars did not come first but as a result of people wanting help to make the shift into something they had no previous experience with. No one is forced to take seminars.

I know people that have just read the books and discussed them with others that did the same. Others wanted to experience feedback on their written work. It costs money for people to leave their day job and fly out to put on a seminar. I doubt that you would put up the expense yourself, or let your spouse drain your family purse to fly out and articulate your point of view. Most business and education seminars I have seen offered by others cost more.


DeMille does not even tell parents that they have to abandon materials they already have. Developmentally or cognitively there are better times to use each. A young scholar may combine
home schooling, classes in public school and private tutoring. It depends on what the child's mission is and how best to accomplish it. Parent and student involvement is important.

DeMille has not called for the abolition of public, private, or even other methods of education. He just does not want to see Liberal arts education with classics, mentors, simulations, field experience and God, to fall to the wayside. These can all be found in the recesses of various disciplines. I had many benefits of this kind of education within the BYU Art department.

I have read Hutchins, Bloom, Bloom, Adler, Barzun, Tuttle, and others decrying the loss of the Liberal Arts, and their efforts to restore Liberal Arts education. Many of these I read before ever hearing of TJEd.

Even President Hinckley tried to call us gently to it, hold up his own childhood as an example, where he lived in an enriched environment, had parental example, but was never forced. he often share about his beloved set of 1910 Harvard classics.

“We live in a world where knowledge is increasing at an ever-accelerating rate. Drink deeply from this ever-springing well of wisdom and human experience. If you should stop now, you will only stunt you intellectual and spiritual growth. Keep everlastingly at it. Read. Read. Read. Read the word of God in sacred books of scripture. Read from the great literature of the ages. Read what is being said in our day and time and will be said in the future.”

Gordon B. Hinckley Commencement Address, Brigham Young University 27 April 1995

J.L.L said...

Donna, all you said was that you think I'd do or not do, and you told me a bunch of things you say DeMille has said. And then you mention Pres. Hinckley's childhood.

So.....I guess DeMille shouldn't claim Joan of Arc studied the classics. I guess he is saying something false that virtually all leaders in the past has e TJ Ed like DeMille describes. I guess it's not necessary to have an FEC, a leadership bookshelf, or a "donation box." I guess the 6 Phases of Learning really are not rooted in the past and are the modification of the creations of modern cognitive development theorists and child psychologists.

I'm not sure Pres. Hinkley's childhood refutes all that.

Truth said...

Donna -

"The seminars did not come first"

On the contrary, it all began with seminars. DeMille spent the first three summers after his mission first working for and then teaching seminars on the constitution. The first year of GWC was actually more of a longer-than-normal seminar (Brooks acknowledges this in "First Fifteen years). Over time, the seminars have evolved to focus more on education -- especially homeschooling. But the roots of the whole organization are seminars.

"n 2002...three major concepts surfaced that would prove to not only solve our mission concerns but also take care of operating expenses: speaking, seminars, and products." - Shanon Brooks, "The First Fifteen Years", p. 33

"In the days following his return from Spain, Oliver was invited by a family friend to attend a seminar on the principles of good government... The relationships that began at that seminar would figure greatly in his education and in the fulfillment of his personal mission for years to come." - Shanon Brooks, "The First Fifteen Years", p. 7

"In the summer of 1990, while still an undergraduate at BYU, Oliver did an internship with The Institute for Constitutional Education (ICE) in Cedar City, Utah. Oliver’s major responsibility was developing and running seminars on the Constitution. He helped run nine seminars and conferences that summer—six for youth and three for adults." "The First Fifteen Years", p. 16

By 1991, "Oliver was lecturing at both the youth and adult seminars, and had become a favorite speaker."
"The First Fifteen Years", p. 17

The first year of GWC, the core class was a seminar. "This exciting seminar course was supplemented with language courses, a current events simulation class that the faculty and students called “the Situation Room”, visiting lectures, and various small-group tutorials." "The First Fifteen Years", p. 18

Between the time GWC was founded and DeMille wrote TJEd, he began speaking "at numerous home school conventions, and various radio, television, community events and seminars. Demand and speaker fees gradually increased, and his speeches provided a significant contribution to the meager college budget as well as an opportunity for recruiting." "The First Fifteen Years", p. 24

About the time he published TJEd, GWC established a formal "Director of Seminars and External Development" position in 2000.

I have nothing against seminars, and I think we can all agree that seminars are at the core of DeMille's approach: he has been doing them since he was 21, although the subject matter has evolved over time, especially in the mid-1990s when he began frequenting home school conventions.

A cynic would say that DeMille shifted his focus to home education as a way of "following the money"; a defender might argue that it was the natural evolution of DeMille's quest to replicate Jefferson's education for the masses. I think a fair assessment would be that it's a mix of both.

Donna said...

Thank you. Truth.

I do have a problem with the inference of emphatic statement of what DeMille said, the proof was absent in the quotes.

In the opener of this post the term "virtually all" was quote, which means practically, and does not infer all, exclusive of exceptions, but is a general rule, or usually.

"This model is based solidly on the experience of great leaders of history and how they were educated." Leadership Education, p.207"

"Great Leaders" and "all great leaders" are not the same thing.
There is space for a shepherd girl without making this statement false. Most of us understand that there can be exceptions.

"Find a great leader in history, and you will nearly always find two central elements of their education – classics and mentors."
Again "nearly always" and "always" are different and splitting hairs.one has room for the exception whereas the other does not. OD was not exclusive.

"One cannot modify the details of Leadership Education without also modifying the outcome. The principles we enumerate below do not pretend to be everything to everyone, but they are what they are - A Leadership Education." Leadership Education, p.59

That makes perfect sense to me and is in no way arrogant or a put down. It's just a fact. Change the variables of any equation and you can change the outcome. That is just stating what is common sense. People can copy my recipe and use substitute ingredients and it will be a different dish.It may still be a cake or Chicken Divan, but it is not the recipe. I get complaints often from people trying to cook my recipes and the food not tasting like mine. They have often used substitutions. Everything depends on what you are aiming at.

DeMille also calls the principles "A" Leadership Education that implies one of many, not a one and only. So, many of us see it as "A" and were not offended or alarmed, and realized that that ours will look differently from each other because we also seek the spirit's guidance. Our children come with different abilities and capacities, and have different missions to fulfill. Of course implementation may be different and often will be. When people ask me about application, I share my insights into the principles and encourage them to weigh it out, pray about it and follow the spirit. Not exactly blind obedience or following a pied piper.

I feel it is unfair to make blanket statements and judgments of people you do not know, like the TJEders you profess to want to save. I feel that you do many a disservice by judging them so narrowly.

Donna said...

Thank you. Truth.

I do have a problem with the inference of emphatic statement of what DeMille said, the proof was absent in the quotes.

In the opener of this post the term "virtually all" was quote, which means practically, and does not infer all, exclusive of exceptions, but is a general rule, or usually.

"This model is based solidly on the experience of great leaders of history and how they were educated." Leadership Education, p.207"

"Great Leaders" and "all great leaders" are not the same thing.
There is space for a shepherd girl without making this statement false. Most of us understand that there can be exceptions.

"Find a great leader in history, and you will nearly always find two central elements of their education – classics and mentors."
Again "nearly always" and "always" are different and splitting hairs.one has room for the exception whereas the other does not. OD was not exclusive.

"One cannot modify the details of Leadership Education without also modifying the outcome. The principles we enumerate below do not pretend to be everything to everyone, but they are what they are - A Leadership Education." Leadership Education, p.59

That makes perfect sense to me and is in no way arrogant or a put down. It's just a fact. Change the variables of any equation and you can change the outcome. That is just stating what is common sense. People can copy my recipe and use substitute ingredients and it will be a different dish.It may still be a cake or Chicken Divan, but it is not the recipe. I get complaints often from people trying to cook my recipes and the food not tasting like mine. They have often used substitutions. Everything depends on what you are aiming at.

DeMille also calls the principles "A" Leadership Education that implies one of many, not a one and only. So, many of us see it as "A" and were not offended or alarmed, and realized that that ours will look differently from each other because we also seek the spirit's guidance. Our children come with different abilities and capacities, and have different missions to fulfill. Of course implementation may be different and often will be. When people ask me about application, I share my insights into the principles and encourage them to weigh it out, pray about it and follow the spirit. Not exactly blind obedience or following a pied piper.

I feel it is unfair to make blanket statements and judgments of people you do not know, like the TJEders you profess to want to save. I feel that you do many a disservice by judging them so narrowly.

J.L.L said...

donna, c'mon, you left out important parts of DeMille's quote.

You said (quoting DeMille):
>"Find a great leader in history, and you will nearly always find two central elements of their education – classics and mentors."
Again "nearly always" and "always" are different and splitting hairs.one has room for the exception whereas the other does not. OD was not exclusive.

>"This model is based solidly on the experience of great leaders of history and how they were educated." Leadership Education, p.207"

>"Great Leaders" and "all great leaders" are not the same thing.
There is space for a shepherd girl without making this statement false. Most of us understand that there can be exceptions."

[end of your quote]

He included Joan of Arc in quote full quote which you left out (but I had supplied):

"Find a great leader in history, and you will nearly always find two central elements of their education – classics and mentors. From Lincoln, Jefferson and Washington to Ghandi, Newton and John Locke, to Abigail Adams, Mother Theresa and Joan of Arc – great men and women of history studied other great men and women.” A Thomas Jefferson Education, p. 37

so there it is. DeMille included Joan of Arc in the list of "great leaders in history" who had studied the classics. She did not.

and you said:
> "DeMille also calls the principles "A" Leadership Education that implies one of many, not a one and only."

So then, what is necessary to do in TJEd and what isn't? The FEC? Closet? Bookshelf? Getting a Scholar Phase by studying the classics under a mentor for 5000-8000 hours? These are all "essential" to DeMille. Do you agree?

Truth said...

Donna -

"Change the variables of any equation and you can change the outcome."

But what if the equation is wrong in the first place? I would argue that DeMille's equation -- classics, not textbooks, for example -- may not produce the results he claims they will.

Some may respond that they adapt his teachings to their own situation, for example they would change "classics, not textbooks" to "classics and textbooks". That's perfectly fine, but it's changing the equation, and therefore changing the results, isn't it?

Donna said...

;) hi, I am back!

I am glad you asked about those questions. I will start with Jeanne d'Arc. I never had a problem with her.

Over the years I have noticed that different fields have their own language. There is educationese. Many people accuse Mormons of having their own language. The stake center for instance may be based on the concept of tent stakes, but is not a stake, but a building. We use phrases like PPI and ward. Ward has many meanings including a political division of a city, but also a dependent. So, when I speak to an audience that may have non-member I take time to define terms.

TJEd is really no different from any other field in this respect, and has its own developed its own lingo or TJEDese, as well. I do not have a problem with that as long as they define the various dimensions of the words they use. I shared other definitions of classics to show that the word as a broader meaning than you put forth.

I see truth like a rare gem of many facets. I can go to the temple with five friends and we can each be taught different lessons by the Holy Ghost, based on where we are in our spiritual development and life experience. We can each be taught different things and each can be true. A classic is not just a two dimensional creation. I have no problem with more than one definition. Many words in the dictionary have more than one definition. A Classic or TJEd are no different.

It has been mentioned that DeMille has defined a classic as a book you can read again and again and learn something new each time. Even that falls short of what. Actually, DeMille has defined a classic as any "work" that can be "experienced" again and again and you learn something each time you experience. A painting is a work, as is a classic car, a classic movie, a classic dress, classic music, and more. We are God's creation and therefore, people can be a classic as well.

As a sixteen year old girl I was inspired by the story of Jean D'Arc. I researched her and submitted a paper on her. One of the sources was a fascinating encyclopedia we owned that was almost 100 years old. The old ones have interesting stories and information that is often dispensed with in the modern encyclopedias, in favor of brevity.

Jean was unlettered, not uneducated. It is phenomenal. especially, what she did with France's army and even her courage and integrity before the priest. Though un-lettered, she could write. I see in her hand writing better penmanship than many of youth of today. Many have atrocious hand writing, due to lack of practice. Hers is at least readable.


She said in court that she had no other teacher but her mother. We know that included training in core values and knowledge of God. Jean had integrity and stuck to her story,knowing it would bring death by evil and designing men. I cannot imagine any parent would want their child to suffer and die as she did..

As a mother I am inspired by the power of her mother's teachings.

Think of it, Jeanne did not have the benefit of textbooks, formal schooling, or electronic media! Yet she had enough knowledge and wisdom to lead an army and give answer to the priests. If she was just an ignorant shepherdess, where did her knowledge to deal in these situations come from? You are not just lucky to lead an army to victory. It would be unlikely articulate beliefs to the priest if you are unlearned. Because classics go beyond print, then there are most definitely many ways to experience classics and gain knowledge. She got that knowledge somewhere. That somewhere, as stated in court was her mother in particular, and probably others. In this case her mother was a classic and a mentor.

As a mother her story inspires me,as well as Susannah Wesley's story, and the stripling warriors.
I can see the powerful influence of that mothers can have on the character of their children.

Jefferson most certainly studied classic writings, he also took a notebook around and asked questions of people he observed and wrote down answers. He played the violin. He studied plants and animals. He studied ancient writings looking for principle that yield the Anglo-Saxon and ancient Hebrew culture.

I have no problem with Jeanne d Arc being on the list. Her presence on the list helps me see the diverse ways in which a mother can use classics and be a classic. It will look different, even if the principles grounded in classics and mentors.

The next time I post I will share about a Spencer W. Kimball inspired an almost 30 year-old family tradition and why FEC does not bother me in the least bit.

Truth said...

Donna -

I believe the argument wasn't whether she was educated, it was whether she was literate, which she was not. She had to dictate her letters to a scribe, but was able to sign her name.

So can we agree that DeMille's definition of a "classic" is the following?

"A classic is any "work" that can be "experienced" again and again and you learn something each time you experience. A painting is a work, as is a classic car, a classic movie, a classic dress, classic music, and more. We are God's creation and therefore, people can be a classic as well."

One clarification -- if classics and mentors are the key, and mentors are people, can a mentor also be a classic?

J.L.L said...

"Think of it, Jeanne did not have the benefit of textbooks, formal schooling, or electronic media! Yet she had enough knowledge and wisdom to lead an army and give answer to the priests. If she was just an ignorant shepherdess, where did her knowledge to deal in these situations come from?"

Whether she was ignorant isn't the point. It's whether she had studied the classics like DeMille claims she did! And this is my point! You don't need DeMille's "Leadership Education" to become a leader because no leader in history had DeMille's "Leadership Education." That's right Joan of Arc was unlearned. And she became a pretty great leader. Why then do you support what DeMille says is necessary to become a leader: 5000-8000 hours of mentored study of the classics, FEC, bookshelf, closet, "inspiring, not requiring," focusing on yourself, not treating your child out of his "phase," etc.?

"I have no problem with Jeanne d Arc being on the list. Her presence on the list helps me see the diverse ways in which a mother can use classics and be a classic"

Oh now a mother "can be a classic!?" This really is getting ridiculous. DeMille states that nearly all leaders read the classics and had mentors. We point out that Joan of Arc, who DeMille uses as an example, did not read the classics. But you still say her mother taught her the classics, and that her mother herself was a classic.

Please.

Donna said...

:) I read and discuss the classics with my children. The number one they cut their teeth on, before they can read or write is the scriptures. As did Susannah Wesley.

Oh, please!

We do not agree and I guess that sums it up.

TJEd is A Leadership Education. As far as the DeMille's Recipe, that is how they mix it and what they feel is important. In the article they share that they know of no one who is doing them all, nor doing them perfectly.

The Educational gospels are not his, but what influenced current practice in America and he recommends reading them and others and comparing them with what the text books say about them. I think that is fair.

On the matter of FEC..."A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." They do not say that we should duplicate their pattern. They just share what they do and how it works.I feel the important point is not what you call it or even how formal it is, but that it:
1)can benefit families immensely.

2)includes wife, husband, and God.

3) we consider issues the family faces

4) we consider needs of families members etc.

As an active latter-day saint I am curious why you think FEC is odd. We have been doing it for at least 30 years, much longer than DeMille has been married.

I first heard the idea of parent councils from Scott Anderson at BYU Ed Week. We put it into practice and discovered it served our needs. President Kimball encouraged parents to meet together and become unified and then meet in family councils. We have done both.

If you have a problem with having the husband preside, it is by Divine design.

What does home life have to do with becoming a leader or statesman? Apparently, President Kimball sees statesman different than just political world leaders, as well. Read on.

I am an artist and from a talk on the arts I discovered this interesting statement.

“Oh, how our world needs statesmen!” And we ask again with George Bernard Shaw, ‘Why not?’ We have the raw material, we have the facilities, we can excel in training. We have the spiritual climate. We must train statesmen, not demagogues; men of integrity, not weaklings who for a mess of pottage will sell their birthright. We must develop these precious youth to know the art of statesmanship, to know people and conditions, to know situations and problems, but men who will be trained so thoroughly in the arts of their future work and in the basic honesties and integrities and spiritual concepts that there will be no compromise of principle.“
Spencer W. Kimball

It does not bother me that everyone is not a clone and DeMille would not want it either. Parent councils or FEC, Family counsel, and personal interviews or mentoring of our children are all very important. They will look different in each home, so what?

I have lived in Hawaii, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, Colorado, California, and Utah. I am a convert. I have observed families since I joined the church on my own as a 17 year old. I have noticed and spoken with successful families that raise leader children in and outside the hs community. They have all had a different lifestyle than their neighbors. The lifestyle is a core family life. They met as parents then as families. I have found that the same things that make a child successful in home, private, and public school are the same. Yes, there are exceptions. They are rarer than you want us to be believe.

Donna said...

I feel you are wrong on the educational level and background of people that have come to TJEd. Making such blanket judgments of so many people. Upon what evidence do you rest such a statement?

I have not heard you articulate a non-philosophy of men approach to education.

Classical Education is a "philosophy of men," whether rooted in Plato, Augustine, Aquinas, or Aristotle. They were all fallen men and though they may have hit some things right they also caused many to stumble.

* Perennialism
* Essentialism
* Progressivism
* Reconstructionism
* Existentialism
The above are philosophies of men, as is militarism.

Great Leaders from history have come from most of these. These do not exclude classics or mentors.

The difference in TJEd is that we are encouraged to be grounded in and live by our central classic as a base to build on, and encouraged to seek the guidance and direction of the spirit. I already do that. I believe the world would be better if more people did. Seeking the spirit assures that no two homes will be identical. Is TJEd a philosophy of men? Yes, as any other philosophy you have compared it to is. Yet, TJEd is not a straight jacket, but an approach that encourages further inquiry and inspiration.

Meanwhile, I have spent years studying the gospel and learning and continue to seek inspiration for my own, and I encourage others to do the same.

I am interested in your idea of what a non-"philosophy of men" approach to learning and education would look like. What elements do you consider vital? What is more important- how you raise a child or how you educate a child? Upon what do these ideas rest? I ask this not to debate or pull your arguments apart.

Education is a life time endeavor and whether or not it is successful may not have been tested yet. I hope that by raising my children to seek God's will and guidance and to use their talents and means to further God's work that when the challenges come, they will act in integrity because they will know and love their God and be true to Him. Of course that is my hope, they have a better chance is they are raised in a home where God is a vital part of their life. Yet, they have their agency.

When I consider D&C 88 and the Lord's curriculum, I know if I press forward and my children choose to use their agency contrary to their best interest and to their covenant, I will be further along than I am now. I will be better able to serve. I see D&C 121 41-46, precept and example as the methodology. There is room for more. Teach them correct principles. Return and report. Oh and the family proclamation. I am still working on it. Basically this covers character and academic subjects.

A Lead me guide me, walk beside me, help me find the way kind of education.

J.L.L said...

"We do not agree and I guess that sums it up."

No. You keep on failing to acknowledge that DeMille is wrong in his claims about leaders of the past studying classics. You keep on failing to explain why DeMille's "Leadership Education" is necessary at all since no leaders in the past had the education he says you need to do now. That's great that you like TJEd. That does not make any of the claims true. This is not just a "disagreement" on methods. TJEd has false claims. Period. And those claims are the basis for everything else DeMille says you need to do for a "Leadership Education."

Donna said...

I see it differently, I interpret it differently. I do not have to prove anything. It is not possible to prove anything to someone who is either unwilling or unable to see things differently. With hardening of the categories on both sides due from a different view, there is little chance of change either way.

Truth said...

Donna -

What is your response to the accusation that DeMille changed his education history?

For example, in the first edition (2000) of A Thomas Jefferson Education, he states that he graduated from BYU before studying at CRBU. In the second edition (2006) of the book, he revised the statement to indicate he was still studying at BYU at the time he began his CRBU studies. The GWC history (2005) Brooks wrote indicates DeMille returned to BYU after the CRBU Ph.D. and completed a bachelor's degree then.

Can we at least agree on this point: that he has changed his educational history?

Donna said...

So what.

My daughter's friend completed her course work and they let her walk this year and then said, oh, btw you need to take this math class before you can have your diploma.

My mother earned her undergraduate and graduate degree simultaneously.

My husband's great grand father never spent a day in college. Yet, his scientific research and documentation earned him the first professorship of Horticulture at the University of Wisconsin Madison until his death in 1912. Oh, and by the way they had no problem calling him Dr. He traveled to Tuskegee at the behest of Booker T Washington and George Washington Carver. He was recognized and highly respected, yet had not received a formal college education or degree.


I feel the important thing is that he did the work at BYU and earned the degree. He also did the work for CRBU. Yes, it was non-traditional, non-accredited, and like 97% of business, is no longer in business. However, even the US Department of education web site admits that lack of accreditation does not necessarily mean a program is not a good one.

I attended a WASC accredited Leeward Community college before transferring to BYU. The accreditation was worthless to my education. Four atheist teachers that spent English, Sociology, Philosophy, and History time verbally berating all Christians, ranting, and wasting class time with their tirades. Oh and the philosophy teacher decided to take class time to show X rated movies. I went to college because I loved learning and wanted to learn. This was a joke. I got fed up and transferred.

BYU has gotten close enough to almost losing their over title ix issues.

So, please do not give the accreditation whine. There is so much bogus stuff that goes into accreditation that has nothing to do with the quality of learning experience.

The process is not easy and requires lots of money to jump through the hoops to get that rubber stamp.

Oh,my gosh he included someone on the list you don't think should have been there.

Oh my gosh, they have been around for 15 years, where are the leaders?

Oh my gosh he defined a word two different ways!


My personal opinion is that it is mouse nuts to be just combing to harp. You set up judge and jury.

I know this is driving you nuts. You are jumping up and down shouting "can't you see..."

I have attended classes on campus and I have also completed my undergraduate studies at BYU. I do have something to compare it to. I have had great experiences at both schools. Perhaps one of the reasons I have gotten so much out of both is that I go in with an attitude of what can I learn, and what does God want me to get out of this?

I did not come here to debate. I saw some things that I felt were greatly over exaggerated, some judgments I thought were missing it, and basic over narrowly defining information so you could make a point.

DeMille does not expect clones.

He encourages people to customize.

You make it sound like he expects a TJEd conveyor belt, which is far from reality.

J.L.L said...

"Oh,my gosh he included someone on the list you don't think should have been there."

He's making up information about Joan of Arc and other leaders, Donna. You don't care? It's not a matter of opinion that "I don't think Joan of Arc should be included in the list." It's a statement of fact that she didn't study the classics like DeMille says she did.

"Oh my gosh, they have been around for 15 years, where are the leaders?"

That's right. For an education that touts to be the way to train leaders, the final say in whether the education works is whether any leaders are produced.

"Oh my gosh he defined a word two different ways! "

Donna, it is disingenuous to use a word two different ways when you are trying to claim similarities. You can't try to make an argument that since A = B and B = C, then A = C if you are using two different meanings of A. You can't say that Thomas Jefferson studied the classics and we should too, and then say that means 7 Habits. You can't say that nearly all leaders in the past studied the classics, and give Joan of Arc as an example because "her mother was a classic." Read up a bit on "Equivocation."

"Equivocation is classified as both a formal and informal fallacy. It is the misleading use of a term with more than one meaning (by glossing over which meaning is intended at a particular time)." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equivocation

Why don't you care that so many of these claims in TJEd are false? Why is it that we are the ones with the problem but pointing out that the claims are false?

Truth said...

Donna -

"please do not give the accreditation whine"

I said nothing about accreditation. That's not the issue at hand. I'll repeat the questions (please address these two questions):

(1) What is your response to the accusation that DeMille changed his education history?

For example, in the first edition (2000) of A Thomas Jefferson Education, he states that he graduated from BYU before studying at CRBU. In the second edition (2006) of the book, he revised the statement to indicate he was still studying at BYU at the time he began his CRBU studies. The GWC history (2005) Brooks wrote indicates DeMille returned to BYU after the CRBU Ph.D. and completed a bachelor's degree then.

(2) Can we at least agree on this point: that he has changed his educational history?

Alison Moore Smith said...

I haven't been back to this thread. My, I have been missing out.

Thank you for bringing up the fallacy of equivocation. It's rampant on the TJEd side of this issue. On one list I'm on, classics now include pretty much everything, including "bugs."

So, let me just follow that line of thinking to back up Donna.

Joan of Arc studied classics because sheep are classics and hills are classics and flowers are classics and her mom is classic.

Classical equivocation?

And let's be clear, DeMille bought more then one diploma from more than one diploma mill. That's pretty remarkable for someone who claimed, at about the same time, to have dropped out of BYU because he just figured out that Coral Ridge Baptist (ack!) was the quality education he was searching for!

Hello? Anyone home?

Donna said...

The fallacy of equivocation is the intentional use of a word with two meanings, in which the line is blurred as to what is meant.

There was no attempt to mislead in terms of explaining "classic" or "mentor." It is simply that we see them differently. For sake of argument you define it one way and hope to impose that definition on others that do not share that view and then use that to try to prove your argument. I on the other hand was not trying to argue, only to clarify that there are many types of mentors, that a classic is a work not just a book, and that leadership is the act of leading, no matter how small nor how large. The people I have spoken to were not drawn to TJEd to be famous or to be in charge of others. That even SWK sees statesmanship differently than narrowly defined in this blog.

I have absolutely no issue with you choosing to define your world so narrowly, to define classics, mentors, statesman, and leadership the way you do. As there is room for those definitions and they are common views. However, it is my view and not the only definition. It is your view and not the views of the TJed community. You can define for yourself, but when you attempt to speak and define for others and then attack the definition you gave, you are in error and have overstepped your place.

What happens when you assign a definition and then argue against it is you have set up a false argument.

I was not trying to argue. I came here only to explain something I felt was misrepresented due to a narrow definition. I give the writers a benefit of the doubt.

J.L.L said...

"I have absolutely no issue with you choosing to define your world so narrowly, to define classics, mentors, statesman, and leadership the way you do."

Donna, how can I make this any clearer? It's not my definition! This is not a difference of definition between you and me, or DeMille. It is an issue of DeMille being CONSISTENT with his own definition.

"The fallacy of equivocation is the intentional use of a word with two meanings, in which the line is blurred as to what is meant."

That's right. A person is using equivocation when he says that leaders of the past read the "classics" and that people now should read the "classics", when the first use is great works of enduring value, and the latter included Cleon Skousen and 7 Habits. This is not an issue of me seeing the definition of classic differently!

Pick a definition, Donna, any definition of classic, and you tell me if Joan of Arc read "classics" according to your definition, if Thomas Jefferson read the "classics" according to that same definition, and if DeMille's list matches that same definition of "classic."

Please, Donna, just provide a definition of classics and let's see if the leaders of the past read them, and then we'll see if those are the same types of work DeMille and others in TJEd say you should read.

Donna said...

Oh my! According to you we should choose only one form of each word and use it. That would be so limiting of vocabulary! That is ridiculous!

I have heard DeMille define classic as any work that can be experienced again and again, something is learned each time you revisit it and you are better for the experience. That is how I approach scriptures, Temple and other works. I seek for inspiration as to what God would like me to get out of the experience. Oh, my scriptures are classics, as is the Temple, to me.

In his book he focuses in on and discusses Seven Reasons for "Studying" the Classics. Here most would apply to literary classics. However, this is only one area he has discussed in broader context, and is but one facet of classics.

I agree with Bloom and DeMille on the value of National Books.

There are classics in every field. I agree with this point. I feel 7 Habits is a classic within the field of Organizational Behaviors. That was the field my mother received her Masters in. She had worked her way from GS 2 to GS 23 and a specialist in Computer Languages for NATO. With most of the modern mothers I deal with, 7 Habits would benefit them greatly.

I had a youth class once where 7 Habits was being discussed. One mom was unglued because she thought it was Humanist. So, I asked the class what religion Covey was. I asked if they thought he would be true to the truth he knew. Then I asked them to retell 7 Habits from their doctrinal understanding. I was surprised at their fluency with their scriptures and the answers were right on. You may not consider Seven Habits a classic, That is your take on it. I differ.

I went back to the book and reread the point about Joan of Arc. "Find a great Leader in History and you will nearly always find two central elements of their education- classics and mentors. From Lincoln, Jefferson, and Washington to Gandhi, Newton, and John Locke, Abigail Adams and Joan of Arc-great men and women of history studied other great men and women." I agree with that, nearly always. Joan was taught by her mother, and by visions. Study is to apply the mind to learn and understand something. In Joan's place we know her mother taught her, which is assisted study but independent study may have been meager. No one really knows and I am not about to throw out assisted study just because it does not fit the paradigm you want study to fit in. This I do know, she carried out and died for her beliefs. I also feel that her actions led to the birth of a nation, which was later a very important ally in our war for independence. I have often wondered if she had not led the French armies, would there have been a France? Would we have had an ally. Would we be Brits?

DeMille later states in the chapter that one of the people Jefferson studied was Jesus Christ. Though Jefferson could not accept the trinitarian beliefs about Christ, he still revered His teachings. Joan was a follower of Christ, taught by her mother. I teach my children of great men and women from the scriptures before they can do so independently. Susannah Wesley did so with her children. We study together.

I believe that most great men and women had been inspired by those who went before them. I do not believe this is provable or disprovable unless one has the time to look up every shred of evidence in print on every notable from history. That is absolutely ridiculous notion to endeavor. To what end? For satisfaction. I think this is not reasonable.

Oddly, I did not see that DeMille claimed that each had an education comparable to or equal to the breadth and depth of Jefferson. Nor did he say unequivocally that all had a scholar phase of several thousands of hours. He did feel that Jefferson was a model, one of the best. DeMille felt his education was a model for leadership education today. Those 5 Pillars were based on his post degree studies with Wythe. An ideal.

A Recipe for Success on the other hand, was a reflection of the challenges many face today and at least one way to remedy them.

The problem again is in picking one definition and dogmatically dictating all that DeMille meant and then attacking a straw man of your own making.

Perhaps it is time to leave well enough alone.

Interestingly, you do this anonymously, making accusations.
I feel it is an unreasonable use of my time to continue this. You are set, I am set.

Truth said...

“According to you we should choose only one form of each word and use it.”

Actually, defining one's terms at or near the outset is TREMENDOUSLY useful in having an intelligent discussion.

“I have heard DeMille define classic as any work that can be experienced again and again, something is learned each time you revisit it and you are better for the experience.”

Okay. Is that the definition you’re going to use going forward?

“I feel 7 Habits is a classic within the field of Organizational Behaviors. That was the field my mother received her Masters in. She had worked her way from GS 2 to GS 23 and a specialist in Computer Languages for NATO.”

What does this discussion have to do with your mother?

“I went back to the book and reread the point about Joan of Arc. ‘Find a great Leader in History and you will nearly always find two central elements of their education- classics and mentors. From Lincoln, Jefferson, and Washington to Gandhi, Newton, and John Locke, Abigail Adams and Joan of Arc-great men and women of history studied other great men and women.’ I agree with that, nearly always.”

Actually, in the first edition he did not say “nearly always”:

“Find a great leader in history and you will find two central elements of their education—classics and mentors. From Lincoln, Jefferson, and Washington to Gandhi, Mohammed, Moses, Buddha and Jesus Christ, from Newton to John Locke to Abigail Adams and Joan of Arc—great men and women of history studied other great men and women. Whatever the culture, look at its greatest leaders and you will almost always find that they were guided by at least one mentor and made a lifetime study of classic works.” (Oliver DeMille, A Thomas Jefferson Education, First Edition, Chapter Three: “Thomas Jefferson Education: How to Mentor”, chapter introduction)

He also made this statement less than a year before publishing the second edition:

“Find a great leader in history and you will find two central elements of their education-classics and mentors. From Lincoln, Jefferson and Washington to Gandhi, Mohammed, Moses, Buddha, and Jesus Christ, from Newton to John Locke to Abigail Adams and Joan of Arc-great men and woman of history studied other great men and woman. Whatever your culture, look at its greatest leaders and you will find that they were guided by at least one mentor and made a lifetime study of classic works.” (Oliver DeMille, “Home Schools: The Hope Of America”, The Link Homeschool Magazine, March 2004. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1099694/posts)

Ma’am, your leader has been changing his own story and changing the absolutes in his educational philosophy. If he eventually comes to understand the troubling parts of his own past and his philosophy (as he has, evidenced by the change noted above and by the changes he has made to his educational history), shouldn’t you be more than willing to point out obvious flaws rather than endlessly defend them? (Please don’t call me an anti-Mormon at this point. This is not a religious discussion.)

“I believe that most great men and women had been inspired by those who went before them. I do not believe this is provable or disprovable unless one has the time to look up every shred of evidence in print on every notable from history.”

DeMille is making the claim; the burden is on him to provide proof. Why not challenge him for not providing it?

Donna said...

I never claimed DeMille or any other educationalist as my leader.
He is but one of many I have studied. My Cm is far more worn than my TJed. Yet, Charlotte is not my leader either.

That aside, I see things differently. This blog is straining at the proverbial gnat.
I was referencing the green and gold 2000 copy of his book. I only know what I have personally read and heard. I entered the discussion seeing a difference of opinion. I first heard DeMille in 1994. I had not witnessed a change or "cover up." Then again, I am not a word police wanting to make a mountain out of a mole hill, nor would I impute negative motives to a man just because each article is not verbatim of the last article.

Meanwhile, I see in TJed what my husband's maternal grandfather had experienced in his Cornell years, and his paternal great grandfather in his University of Wisconsin preparation and years. Mentors and Classics.

You asked if a mentor can be a classic. I would say yes if that is how the mentor is experienced and can a classic be a mentor, absolutely. I have been mentored by classic works I have experienced. There are certain individuals that have been classics to me as well. As an artist, I am often mentored by the works I create.

I felt 7 Habits was an important work in that field of Organizational Behaviors. It addressed many underlying
challenges faced by many people today. It was a best seller. It has been in print since 1989. Covey is internationally respected in and out side of his field. So, you do not think his work qualifies as a classic. Difference in opinion.

"Whatever your culture, look at its greatest leaders and you will find that they were guided by at least one mentor and made a lifetime study of classic works.” (Oliver DeMille, “Home Schools: The Hope Of America”, The Link Homeschool Magazine, March 2004. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1099694/pos"

Classic works. I have heard DeMille define what he meant by classic works. AGain, a mountain out of a mole hill.

To those who have used TJed principles for years, no defense is necessary. They are experiencing fruits of their labors.

Time.

Space.

Words.

Multiplied.

Divided.

How many people do you need to lead to be a leader? one? Many? How many?

Can you lead from behind the scenes or to qualify as a leader do you have to be elected? Appointed? Popular? Famous?

Are all mentors living? Are they formal? Can parents be mentors?

Classic works? Books only? Ancient Greek and Latin only? Eurocentric? Literature? 16th century? 20th century? Painting? Sculpture? Musical? Drama? Movies?
The life cycle of a butterfly? What about sheep? A person? A "classic" as defined and a "work."

Time.

Space.

Words.

Multiplied.

Divided.

J.L.L said...

"Oh my! According to you we should choose only one form of each word and use it. That would be so limiting of vocabulary! That is ridiculous!"

Donna, do you think it's important to use the same definition of a word if you are trying to prove something? Do you think it is important to use the same definition of "classic" when comparing the educations of different people? Or should we use one definition of "classic" for one person, and another definition of "classic" for another?

J.L.L said...

...and I don't mean the same "classic." I mean the same *definition* of "classic." I mean using the same measure of what a "classic" is.

Do you think that would be important, Donna?

Donna said...

DeMille explains what he means by classic. "A classic is any "work" that can be "experienced" again and again and you learn something each time you experience." You just have a different definition. I have no problem with him defining the broader sense and then magnifying or highlighting and area.

A= the definition of classic that Demille defines. B= kinds of classics, such as literature, math, art, science, philosophy etc. B is part of but not equal to A. There is nothing wrong with defining the big picture and then discussing the parts.

The problem as I see it is you assigning a "part" definition then attack it, as if it were the whole.

In his book he discusses the particular importance of literature and seven reason to study Literature as classics and what we can gain from them. In the broader context of his speaking he speaks of the importance of other classics as well.

Seriously, I spent 13 years k-12 and several years in college and yes I earned my BA through BYU, a good 14 years before I ever heard of DeMille, Charlotte Mason, and others. It would take more than a slim book to articulate that experience, and hours and hours of classroom time and seminars $$$$, for which a legion pay dearly to get certified to teach in our public schools. I did not see his book as an end all, nor his 50 minute presentation at UHEA. No one could do it for the present American school room in such time and space.

I have been in most homes in my ward. Few may have more than a few books beyond hymnals and scriptures. Many people do not like to read. You do not get their attention nor do you get them thinking about changing their present situation by dropping a huge tome on them or a week of lectures. They need a taste. When I spoke of the seminars coming second, I was referring specifically to the Face to Face seminars answering the questions that arise once someone has either heard the 50 minute HS Conference presentation or read the slim book. I am fully aware that he did the other earlier seminars. I was speaking specifically about those seminars that help people with further their understanding of the TJEd concept. Oh, and it costs. I have no problem with the cost. I understand that renting a room, staffing it, transporting the staff and their time loss from family and other work has a cost.

I dare say that BYU and the U of U would cost more a lot more if they were not subsidized, BYU with church support, and U of U with tax help. The truth is, starting any endeavor will take time and cost money. There are precious few that would throw their time and money behind getting something going with out some return on their time. I highly doubt that you would travel all over the country on your own ticket, pay your own way, pay for all handouts, to articulate your ideas on education. It costs money to do this.

As far as Jefferson and classics go...In reality, Jefferson was not limited by or to just studying Greek and Latin classics. Yes, he studied the Greek and Latin in his teens, however, he had a broader study than that. Again, DeMille did not claim that all Leaders had exactly the same classics or same type of mentors, only that they studied great men and women of the past and were mentored.

DeMille held Jefferson as a model example. He never claimed all leaders were carbon copies of Jefferson.nbqcugx

Donna said...

"TJEd is BUILT on an anti-establishment, anti-school sentiment. (You've heard of the "conveyor belt," right?) Did you get that? ANTI. So, if you've got a problem with anti anything, you can start by blasting Mr. Oliver."

Sorry, Oliver is nothing of the sort. From the very first time I heard him in 1994 to the present, he has articulated that in every civilization that had mass schooling for the masses, the civilization prospered. That is not exactly anti anything.

He articulated that there is basically the conveyor belt and the competitive conveyor belt in the private sector and at the college level. He never, said they should be done away with. He felt the problem arises when leadership education is lost.

TJEd is not about homeschooling. It is about preparing our children for their future and can include all settings, public, private, and home. The key I feel is whether the parents are part of the preparation or abdicating it in total to some expert.

I have never heard or read anything published by DeMille since he became President of the school, that would lean into the anti-establishment thought.

I find that he is rather optimistic. Yes, I too feel there are cycles to history. Yet, with preparation to be an educated participant in the system, more are better able to make their voices heard. I feel the broader and deeper people are educated, the wiser their involvement in their duties can be. Especially if the education of the mind is tempered by the cultivation of the soul.

I came across a book in a used book store, the book was published in 1959, and thought I would share its preface with you. The book-- AN INTRODUCTION TO THE GREAT BOOKS AND TO A LIBERAL EDUCATION: THE GREAT IDEAS PROGRAM. As a young mother, I saw this program move into schools as enrichment for gifted children. I feel that this was lamentable. Why? I feel that most citizens can benefit from this kind of education. Why just children and why just gifted children? I feel Hutchins' message is just as true today, as then, when he was President of the University of Chicago. This message is so important! Especially, as we look to solve the dilemmas that face us in education. He lived through WWII and saw what happens when you have a highly specialized society that lacked a truly liberal education, as did pre WWII Germany.

We can best help our society by getting a liberal education, ourselves, and helping our children to do so. I am hopeful and optimistic that if we really follow the counsel of President Gordon B. Hinckley and get all the education we can get, we will not be so narrow as to translate that into narrow specialization, only. We will follow his example and writings and get a broad education, as well. For more on his example, read STANDING FOR SOMETHING. Hinckley has a Liberal Education, and much of it was nurtured by parental example and in the library of his childhood home. As a result of doing the same, we will be better equipped to solve the challenges before us, and not repeat the mistakes of the past.

I also understand that in college he studied Greek and Latin and could read the Greek and Latin classics in their original, which would include the New Testament. My point was more about his childhood where he said his parents set the example and provided the atmosphere but did not force.

Here is the preface of the book...

" This first Reading Plan is called A General Introduction to the Great Books and to a Liberal Education.

What is Liberal Education? It is easy to say what it is not. It is not specialized education, not vocational, avocational, professional, or pre-professional. It is not an education that teaches a man how to do any specific thing.

I am tempted to say that it is an education that no American gets in an educational institution nowadays. We are all specialist now. Even early in high school we are told that we must begin to think how we are going to earn a living, and the prerequisites that are supposed to prepare us for that activity become more and more ingredients of our educational diet. I am afraid that we shall have to admit that the educational process in America is either a rather pleasant way of passing time until we are ready to work, or a way of getting ready for some occupation, or a combination of the two. What is missing is an education to be human beings, education to make the most of our human powers, education for our responsibilities as members of a democratic society, education for freedom.

This is what Liberal Education is. It is the education that prepares you to be free men. You have to have this education if you are going to be happy; for happiness consists in making the most of yourself. You have to have this education if you are going to be a member of the community; for membership in the community implies the ability to communicate with others. You have to have this education if you are going to be an effective citizen of democracy; for citizenship requires that you understand the world in which you live and that you do not leave your duties to be performed by others living vicariously and vacuously on their virtue and intelligence. A free society is a society composed of free men. To be free you have to be educated for freedom. This means that you have to think; for the free man is one who thinks for himself. It means that you have to think, for example, about the aims of life and organized society. These are the questions raised by this first reading plan.

Perhaps I should say a little more about communication and community. For every specialist is trained in the jargon of his specialty. The tendency of specialization is that it grows narrower and narrower. The old definition of a specialist as a man who knows more and more about less and less is only too correct. As specialties grow narrower, the field of communication of each specialist narrows, too. He can talk about his specialty and the language of that specialty, but unless he can find another specialist in precisely the same specialty, he must either become tongue-tied or become a dreadful bore, discoursing on the subject he knows about but the members of his audience do not understand, and doing so in a language incomprehensible to them.

And that is not all. On matters of common interest, like the activities of the community, the specialist is cut off from communication. More and more we hear the phrase,' That is outside my field,' even though the subject is one that may mean life and death to the commonwealth, like education, automation, inflation, and nuclear energy. The Constitution of the United States does not require that all citizens should be experts in everything. But its major premise, without which the whole democratic structure must collapse, is that people will be informed enough, and interested enough to judge the policies proposed to them by those whom they have chosen, with information, intelligence, and interest, to represent them.

The incentive to reading these books is not the acquisition of formal proofs of education that Americans are accustom to: credits, degrees, certificates, diplomas, etc. The incentive is simply your own desire to become as human as you can, for your own sake, and that of your country. I have no doubt that you will become more 'successful' in the usual definition of the term, because I can not believe that it can be a handicap to a man to read and think, and understand the tradition in which he lives. But whether or not you make more money and become more popular as a result of trying to acquire a liberal education, I can assure you that you will become a much more satisfactory companion to yourself.

Can you do it? Many people have. The discussion groups conducted by the Great Books Foundation for the last fifteen years have provided inspiration to hundreds of thousands of participants. Today at Aspen, Colorado, and in many business corporations numerous Americans have accepted seriously the obligation to understand the tradition of the Western world, through these books.

Can you do it yourself? The purpose of this reading plan is to help you overcome your natural diffidence of any modest person in facing so impressive a collection as this set of books. You will see that the problems they deal with are current today. You will observe that the language is not nearly so difficult as you may have been told it is. The ideas are important; but they are not ideas that you have never heard of or have never thought about. These books were not written for specialist in philospophy or political science, or literature; they were written for ordinary people, and read by them until it became fashionable to say, as it has become lately, that they are too difficult for ordinary people.

These books are teachers. They demand attention, but if attention is given, they reward it. As you read on, you will find the reading easier, for one book leads to another.

These books are, I believe the finest written creations of the human mind. Our educational system largely disregards them. Even the names of some of the authors in this set, are never mentioned in the presence of college students today. Yet these are the books that have made the world in which we live, and it is impossible to understand that world without understanding the principle positions taken in them.

A great adventure lies ahead for you as you take part in the Great Conversation."" Robert M. Hutchins

What are the 15 works he considered vital that Mortimer Adler and Peter Wolff included in the book?

1. PLATO, Apology and Crito; p. 1

2. PLATO, The Republic, Book I-II; p. 11

3. SOPHOCLES, Oedipus the King and Antigone; p. 25

4. ARISTOTLE, Nicomachean Ethics, Book I; p. 37

5. ARISTOTLE, Politics, Book I; p. 47.

6. PLUTARCH, The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans, "Lycurgus," "Numa Pompilius," "Lycurgus and Numa Compared," "Alexander," and "Caesar"; p. 63.

7. The Bible, Old Testament, Job; p. 75.

8. ST. AUGUSTINE, Confessions, Books I-VIII; p. 87.

9. MONTAIGNE, The Essays, "Of Custom and That We Should Not Easily Change a Law Received," "Of Pedantry," "Of the Education of Children," "That It Is Folly to Measure Truth and Error by Our Own Capacity," "Of Cannibals," and "That the Relish of Good and Evil Depends in a Great Measure upon the Opinion We Have of Them"; p. 99.

10. SHAKESPEARE, Hamlet; p. 111.

11. LOCKE, Concerning Civil Government, Second Essay; p. 123.

12. SWIFT, Gulliver's Travels; p. 137.

13. GIBBON, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Ch. XV-XVI; p. 147.

14. The Declaration of Independence,The Constitution of the United States of America, The Federalist, Nos. 1-10, 15, 31, 47, 51, 68-72; p. 159.

15. MARX and ENGELS, Manifesto of the Communist Party; p. 175.

Of course, their list is bigger now, that was just a start and Hutchins was not inferring that this list was the end all, but a beginning.

These works are also used by GW students and only make up a small fraction of the classics they study. They read and annotate the works then come to class and discuss them in a roundtable like format. Each participant brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the table when they come to discuss. This is not exactly the spoon feeding you feel goes on. Students and faculty lead the discussions.

Yes there are lectures, but many of them are know in advance and the wise student comes well prepared. Before the Greek Poetry (and Greek influenced) Seminar, the assignment was to study Sophocles Three Pleban Plays and the Aeneid. I had already the context of Homer and was beginning my study of Greek as inspired by C Wilford Griggs when I had him as an instructor at BYU. Not exactly my first contact with great ideas.

Donna said...

By your own admission you have had limited experience with something you so rabidly attack. A few books, a few articles and public presentation? Had that been your only experience with anything, I would surely not take your word for anything, quotes or no quotes. It is simply no substitute for the real thing. You are hardly a spokesman.

There appears here a deeper reason than just a disagreement in premise.
This seems to be far more than a zealous attempt to save at least one person.

Any reasonable thinking person when seeing that someone and their ideas are being attacked, especially when nothing is being offered in its stead, will consider looking further into what is being attacked. Especially when the person that is purporting to be genuinely interested in protecting others is known only by a few initials. We do not know your full aims. We do not really know your real experience. This blog is as much about the writer of it as it is about the subject.

My point is not accepting someone else's words and constructions as a substitute for the real TJEd or anything else.

I am glad that I had experienced TJEd for years before I ever read this blog. What I have experienced is nothing like what you quibble over here.

Years ago I attended a local city counsel meeting. I read about it in the paper the next day and did not recognize it through the slant of the writer. When he was done spinning it, I honestly thought he had to be in another room. He was. His perception was his reality and so he could write what he did with a good conscience.

Actually, this is true for the seven blind men and the elephant, as it is with everyone. Our perception is our reality.

In my case, my perception has been built on experiences that have shaped my views. Yours has shaped yours.

I have done the same with Charlotte Mason as I am advocating here. I read all 6 volumes of her work more than once. I have studied them. If her ideas are worth considering, I feel following another's opinion is no substitute for getting to understand her through her works. The first time I came in contact with her was through McCauley. I gave it a cursory reading of a few leafs and put it down totally uninterested. Five years later I came back to her works through an article. This time, I went to the source, and also read other writings as well. I got a totally different perspective on her. I have found, on occasion people as vehement against CM as you are against TJEd. I have usually found that they have not really studied her. I myself do not agree with all she says, as my arguing in the margins will attest.

I have discussed with many that had genuine interest, my insights on my TJEd experience. I have not found it an impoverished pedagogy, quite the opposite. Here too, I have disagreed at times. I am not about to throw the baby out with the bath water. Thinking does not mean we have to totally agree.

DeMille is not anti-public school. He deals with Public school teachers that are trying to utilize elements of TJEd within the classroom. I personally know a few Public School High School teachers and at least one seminary teacher that has used TJEd ideas to enrich their classrooms. Not exactly anti. Definitely not impoverished.

The wise person will hear both sides, consider, and if they had any interest in TJEd in the first place, read and search the original sources in the full context of their entirety, not just in random quotes and opinions.

I would never expect anyone to take my word for it. I want them to think, search it out, discuss it with those who have been using it, and decide for themselves.

Anonymous said...

Hey, J.L.L.,

I thought this was your blog. It would appear that Donna has taken over :-)

J.L.L said...

Yeah, Donna, easy on the number of posts.

First, all the classics that the GWC student read. That's great. I commend them. That is what people should strive for in their education. That's not what Joan of Arc did. That's not what Joseph Smith did. That's not what Cincinnatus did. That's not what most leaders did. I'll bet they would have liked to. But they didn't, and therefore can't be used as examples of leaders who studied the classics. Case closed.

As for me and my "limited" exposure to TJEd. I can't think of a better way to learn about TJEd than from the source. I can't think of a better source of information about TJEd than books from the founder of TJEd. Books that have been reviewed and edited, sometimes in a second printing. Books whose statements are not made off the cuff or in error. Books that anyone can go buy and read. You don't have to take my word on anything. Just read the book. It's not what I heard, what someone told me, what you hear in some seminar somewhere, sometime. Should I expect different information, different explanations, different statements if I were to go to any other TJEd seminar? That would be a real problem, because someone wouldn't be telling the truth, or have a different version of it at least. No, the two books that I used as my primary sources - hey, wait a minute. Doesn't DeMille talk about how to understand calculus, you ought to read the original classic for that? Doesn't DeMille bemoan how people don't understand Dewey because all they've read is other people's interpretation of his writing? Then I go and buy the actual books from DeMille himself, and I am accused of having a narrow view of TJEd? - like I was saying, those two books are the best, most vetted, most correct, most thorough, most publicly available sources of TJEd.

Finally, what I hope people understand is that proponents of TJEd do far more in proving my point than I often can. When I point out problems that I see, and someone comes here and tries to rebut it, usually this helps to prove my point, as if I could just say, "see, that's what I mean." Real live examples. A lot of times people don't believe me about what is part of TJEd or what is taught in the books by DeMille or what TJEd people say sometimes. So having people come on here and demonstrate it actually helps to prove my point I believe.

Donna said...

Jll,
Three books. I see them as openers not as an encyclopedic knowledge. So, I would expect highlights, or brief explanations of concepts. The seminars explore the concepts on a deeper level. Most people would not sit down and read an encyclopedia on education.

Thank you anonymous for pointing that this is Jlls site, who ever he is?

J.L.L said...

Yes, Donna, three books. The three books that explain the philosophy of TJEd written by the guy who founded TJEd. Three books that are considered "classics" in TJEd. Three books that have so much information that they caused a member of the Board of GWC to say:

"I thought I already knew some of this information from articles and seminars, but there is so much new material in this book that I know I'll read it over and over. It is a manual for great education, at every age and stage of life!"-Tiffany Earl, back cover of Leadership Education"

These are not "highlights" or "brief concepts" as you claim. You claim: "The seminars explore the concepts on a deeper level. " Right. That's why so many people say they were unaware of a lot of things in these books. The seminars will clear things up, will they? And how exactly will they clear up false claims about leaders of the past and the "Phases of Development" of an individual? Are the seminars going to give me different information? Will they someehow clear it all up for me? You haven't done it, but I guess a TJEd seminar would.

Always gotta pay to have it "cleared up."

Anonymous said...

C'mon J.L.L., who ever you are. Shame on you.

"Always gotta pay to have it "cleared up."

Now that is clearly a false claim. A bit deceptive, don't you think? Surely though you must know that "always" is not a true statement and you have now made a claim that you cannot back up.

How can anyone trust your judgment
or even be part of your team with such lapses?

Folks to quote a frequent poster "Doesn't it bother you that he may have lied in print..." doesn't bother you that J.L.L. would stoop so low as to make untrue claims that he clearly can not prove?

"Always, gotta pay to clear it up." really now. This is a new twist on the truth. I have been to free seminars at GWC over the years. I can remember clearly the TJEd Convention May 2006 that was 100% free to attend and covered two days, was widely advertised, and was held at the Heritage Center in Cedar City. That event was for 1000 people. It included a board of parents that had used the principles in their home, and even had a question and answer.

GWC held that again this year and again it was free. A suggested donation for student scholarships is not a requirement and therefore the event was still free this year.
http://www.tjed.org/events/2008/03/14/gwc-tjed-convention

There have been other free events
put on by GWC now GWU.

The Newsletter and its archive are and have been free. The GWU Hour radio Colloquia have been free and are stored on the gwe.edu site for free access. http://www.gw.edu/misc/radio/

In the end, this "whyidontdotjed site reflects more on the person that hosted it and his team than I think they wanted to reveal of themselves. Especially since they clearly try to hide their identity.

So, its not for you. Great. Do not do it then. Good for you.;)

Truth said...

"In the end, this "whyidontdotjed site reflects more on the person that hosted it and his team than I think they wanted to reveal of themselves. Especially since they clearly try to hide their identity."

So in the end Donna, you can't win your argument on its merits and instead resort to a personal attack. I think it's time for the discussion to end Donna.

I don't reveal my identity due to a threat by a GWC student against me personally. I hide my identity for the sake of my family. If I were making broad personal attacks this would be a problem. However, I only ever make reasoned arguments based on verifiable facts. Find a counter example in my posts Donna. And while you're looking, find all the examples of personal attacks you have lobbed at me and JLL (who is also anonymous to me).

Anonymous said...

Are you sure it was a GWC student that threatened you? If so, that was immature. I am sorry to hear that. I feel that person acted alone, if in deed it happened.

I am not convinced by those who make personal attacks, post false statements, and wear a teflon coat. It makes suspect the intent and content. What else has been misstated or exaggerated?

Truth may not know J.L.L. and vice a versa. That does not exonerate J.L.L. from making false claims. That is not an attack it is a simple statement that can be proven and was proven false.

Simple human nature to demand justice on others but want mercy for one's self.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps we could all exercise a bit more charity, and perhaps agree to disagree.

J.L.L said...

hey, anonymous, it's not whether there are free events. It's whether you have to pay to go to seminars in order to really understand what TJEd is about. Donna claims that the three books from DeMille are "highlights" or "brief concepts" and that the seminars explore them to deeper levels. The seminars that are free definitely do not explore them to a "deeper level" (I've been to some). That only leaves the seminars that you have to pay money for.

Anonymous, are there seminars that you have to pay money for, that aren't free? Are they required to understand TJEd at a "deeper" level?

It's a cop out claim that you can't correctly understand TJEd from the three books. Obviously the three books have enough information to show that DeMille makes false claims about past leaders and that there are many problems with TJEd. People get after me over little things I say, but give DeMille a pass when he claims that Joan of Arc read the classics. So much for consistency.

Ad hominems to me don't affect me at all. Nice try. They do let others observe what people use when defending TJEd, so I thank you for that.

Anonymous said...

Ah. j.l.l. you are so very right!


Ad hominems do not belong here and have gone both ways. Since people here are relatively anonymous, and we cannot deem whether there are other agendas, or the reliability of those making statements, all we have to discuss is your opinions of what DeMille teaches, more clearly why you do not do Thomas Jefferson Education.

We should stick to the topic at hand. Isn't that what this blog is all about? The topic of this blog and your reasons is why you do not do TJEd. Which is of course your prerogative. You have shared why you do not. Why I may or may not use TJEd in part or in entirety is not the discussion here. The discussion is why you do not.

I am not going to argue what DeMille meant nor will I discuss what he did not mean. I do not think it is anyone's place to speak for him and what he means. Neither you nor I.

This discussion is really about you. About how you perceive and interpret TJEd, and why you do not do it. Great!

Why others may choose it is not the purported topic of this blog.

Truth said...

From DeMille's own mouth:

"The thing about TJEd is that it really is nothing new. It's something that leaders have known for centuries, and applied for millenia in fact. The classical education under the guiding influence of a great mentor who has set the example themselves. Go to the greats, don't study math from some textbook that, that was written by a couple of professors from the University of, you know, whatever. Study math from the greatest mathematician. Study history from the greatest historians." - Oliver DeMille, http://www.tjedonline.com/video/?id=1

Kelly Family said...

Well the X's in the columns LOOk official and clear cut. It is handy that you get to define classics and mentors, then judge another persons statements based on YOUR definitions and assumptions.

Classics are an important part of education.

Mentors are an important part of education.

You want to exclude the Bible as a classic...and specify a certain number of classics to decide who has "studied" classics. Huh..your blog, your decision...it just doesn't make sense at all to me.

You want to exclude God as a mentor...understandable, but not necessarily fair to then judge DeMille based on excluding a mentor he includes.

You want people to take your X's seriously when some of them are based on guesswork.

J.L.L said...

Fine, Kelly Family. You define classics and mentors and let's fill out the table with X's again. You tell me what a classic is, and we'll see if the great leaser of the past read them.

DeMille never really defines what he means by "classics" and "mentors." So the reader just assumes he knows what he is talking about.

Kelly Family said...

I would include religious books-the Bible, the bhagavad gita, the Koran...that sort of thing (which of course puts Gandhi in the "I've studied classics category, even if you assume that studying English law involved not a single classic). In my opinion it is the thought process..the meditation and studying of the classic that is important, not the number of classics involved...though your opinion may differ.

I do include God as a mentor-though I could see if you didn't want to include that as an option.

I'm not totally understanding why you assume socrates didn't have a mentor-in my understanding the whole system of learning at that time included mentors.

You want me to assume Abigail Adams was not well read? really? " She was taught to read and write at home, and given access to the extensive libraries of her father and maternal grandfather, taking a special interest in philosophy, theology, Shakespeare, the classics, ancient history, government and law." http://www.firstladies.org/biographies/firstladies.aspx?biography=2

We don't have a record of a mentor, but she was primarily taught by her grandmother who MAY have filled that role.

I don't have time to go down the list line by line, but these glaring omissions give doubt to your premise AND your intention.

Kelly Family said...

here's another one-Archimedes for Galileo... http://books.google.com/books?id=eK0f0HtEGAkC&pg=PA20&lpg=PA20&dq=Galileo+mentor+Archimedes&source=bl&ots=raMqoCMA-h&sig=ARo_9DX5aw0ApU7JoEzimxEhvAA&hl=en&ei=SsUGS9izCcvVngfNvtjHCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CAsQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=Galileo%20mentor%20Archimedes&f=false

did you not expect people to have ever read about these people OR have access to google

Kelly Family said...

George Washington.... Little is known about George's formal education. Commonly the children of Virginia gentry were taught at home by private tutors or in local private schools. Boys generally began their formal education around the age of seven with lessons in reading, writing, and basic arithmetic. Later they were taught Latin and Greek, as well as such practical subjects as geometry, bookkeeping, and surveying. Wealthy planters often sent their sons to England to finish their schooling, as was done with George's two elder half brothers, Lawrence and Augustine.

The death of his father, however, made schooling abroad an impossibility for George Washington. He may have attended a school near his home for the first few years. Later he went to another school, either in Fredericksburg, Stafford County, or Westmoreland County. He excelled in mathematics and learned the rudiments of surveying. But he was not taught Latin or Greek like many gentlemen's sons, and he never learned a foreign language. Nor did he attend college. His formal education ended around the age of 15.

Among the gentry class, strong social skills were also considered an essential part of a young man's or woman's education. After the death of their father, George began to spend a great deal of time with his older half brother, Lawrence, at his home, Mount Vernon. Lawrence became a mentor to his younger brother, tutoring him in his studies, teaching him social graces, and helping to introduce him into society.

Throughout his life, Washington regarded his education as defective. He consciously made up for some of what he did not learn in school through reading and study on his own. Over the years he amassed a large and diverse library, and in his later years he subscribed to several newspapers. He became a skilled and prolific writer. Perhaps as a result of his lack of formal education he strongly believed in the value of a good education and left money in his will for establishing a school in Alexandria, Virginia, as well as for establishing a national university. http://www.mountvernon.org/learn/meet_george/index.cfm/ss/21/


Washington may not have been as well read as others, but to say he didn't study classics is at best a misunderstanding.

It appears Washington had different mentors for different things he was learning...he considered his brother lawrence a mentor in some ways as well as Governor Robert Dinwiddie ...google for their letters if you want to read.

This is obvious ridiculous. It's interesting to learn about the mentors and classics involved in the development of these leaders.


Is your check list based on assumptions without even the aid of google?

J.L.L said...

Kelly, what did you say was a classic again? I just want to be clear on how you defined it.

Kelly Family said...

JLL I'm not sure what definition of classics you could use to keep your check marks where they are-or what definition of mentor.


My definition of classic-off the top of my head? A great work that stands the test of time. It teaches unique insight and invites and rewards continued study and meditation.

Please feel free to critique that-it really was off the top of my head-it may be incomplete.

The Real George Wythe said...

JLL and Kelly Family, I think it boils down to this: read at least one book and interact with at least one person.

When you clear the rest away, that is the essence of "A Thomas Jefferson Education."

J.L.L said...

Kelly, actually I think that's a pretty good definition of a classic. You say you came up with that off the top of your head and that it may be incomplete. Perhaps, but when I first read the TJEd book, one of the first things I thought of was, "what does he mean by 'a classic?'" Because his whole argument hinges on that. If he's going to claim that "nearly always" great leaders studied the classics then I better understand what he means in order to evaluate this claim. So I don't understand why it seems so many TJEd supporters are so unsure of what 'a classic' is. Seems like a fundamental concept to be clear on.

But your definition I think works fine. I'm not sure it is what DeMille had in mind (since he doesn't say) but I think it would be close enough.

You mentioned how I excluded the Bible. I didn't really. This was discussed in some of the earliest comments here, which I'll reproduce a snippet here:

"But we are not looking to see if leaders from history ever read a book we could call a classic or ever had an influential person in his life. If that were the standard then practically every person who ever lived would qualify (and we couldn't say that classics and mentors are what made the difference for leaders). We are looking to see if DeMille's claims are true, that great leaders had some sort of extra measure of classics and mentors in the sense that DeMille uses the terms and as he describes them. Because if they don't need an extra measure, then the 5000-8000 hours of mentored study wouldn't be necessary. If we consider that Joseph Smith "read the classics" then all you have to do to satisfy "reading the classics" to become a leader is to read the Bible periodically. I don't think that's consistent with what DeMille says is required for a leadership education."

Kelly Family said...

I don't think it's about the quantity of books so much as the quality of your study. Reading the Bible periodically doesn't exactly describe Jospeh Smith.

For me it's more the pondering and meditation-the depth of your studies. I don't see sipping a toe in 100 classics being nearly as meaningful as immersion in even George Washington and others did study classics and I'm extremely puzzled that you chose to exclude that information which is so readily available.

As for mentors, a simple google search provides mentors for many here that you somehow chose to not include.

I'm very puzzled at your lack of inclusion of such commonly available information.

Kelly Family said...

sorry it looks like Abigail adams, and Gandhi were removed in my last comment.

Why don't you consider their study up to your standard? What is your standard? -it must be incredibly high-

oh and another google search and another mentor found....General Fox Conner is commonly considered a mentor for President Eisenhower.

Kelly Family said...

your common phrase of "there is no evidence that" has come to mean to me "I didn't even bother with google.

Kelly Family said...

Oh Look what a surprise (pardon the sarcasm) Isaac Newton had amentor-Isaac Barrow.

sigh.

why not jsut entitle your post I don't have proof that Joan of ARc studied classics, so DeMille MUST BE A BIG FAT LIAR. Or more appropriately, DeMille lied on his resume and most of his seminars cost money so every single thing he said MUST BE WRONG.

J.L.L said...

Joseph Smith was admittedly unlearned when the church was formed. True he studied the Bible and Book or Mormon, which I would consider classics. Other material was apparently not crucial to his ability to be a leader. When he was older, he then commissioned some teachers and tutors to teach him and others ancient languages, and he read some classics. But it was after the fact. He was already a leader. I'm sure he felt it would help him be a better leader, and I bet it did. But it was not critical for him to become a leader. In fact, I would think that the amount of scripture study done in Seminary would be enough to qualify for "study of the classics" if we considered Joseph Smith's experience as a guide.

Similarly for Washington. I've read a decent amount about him and I don't remember classics really ever coming into the picture. He wasn't ignorant, but compared to his fellow founders of the country, he was not well versed in the classics (meaning really the ancient works of the Greeks and Romans). Because of this he did try to self-educate. But again, this was after the fact. His leadership qualities developed before he started giving special attention to any classics.

There's ambiguity when in TJEd people emphasize reading the classics "like other great leaders have done." Because in that sense, and particularly with Jefferson and other learned founding father, that means the ancient greek and latin works. No question about it. That's the most widely used interpretation of "the classics." This is why when I read the TJEd book and DeMille was talking about nearly all great leaders reading "the classics" I was thinking that was not even close.

So then I find that people in TJEd start downplaying the definition of classic. So then that would include more people having read "the classics" but I think it starts to drift from the point DeMille was trying to make. Same thing for "mentors."

But the crucial point is whether the reading of "classics" (however defined) and the guidance of "mentors" (however defined) actually shaped the development of the person into a leader. Not so much a question of did the person ever have anyone in their life that coached them, or did that person ever read a good book, even one of the ancients, but did those contribute to the shaping of the individual into a leader that he or she would not have become otherwise.

The evidence is lacking. Using my definitions, which I stated in the original post, which I think were fair, I think the evidence is lacking that most - let alone nearly all - great leaders even read the classics or even had mentors, and I even mentioned that maybe some X's could be added or moved, but it still doesn't match up to the claim that "nearly all" leaders read the classics or had mentors worthy of mention.

And if it's not even the case that most were exposed to the classics or mentors, then how can it be that nearly all leaders in history had classics and mentors that shaped them to be the leader they eventually became, that classics and mentors were key factors? But even if that were true, how many of them had "5000 to 8000 hours of mentored study" which DeMille says is necessary to be "truly educated?" None. Maybe Jefferson. Not Washington. Not Joseph Smith. Not Joan of Arc. Not Cincinnatus. Not Ghandi. Not Abraham Lincoln. 5000 to 8000 hours of mentored study wasn't necessary for them to become leaders, so why do parents have to do that now?

So if you want to count General Connor was Eisenhower's mentor, I'm game with that. Now show me that Eisenhower had 5000 to 8000 hours of mentored study of the classics with him. Show me the evidence that George Washington had 5000 to 8000 hours of mentored study of the classics. And 5000 to 8000 hours of mentored study of the classics is what DeMille says is necessary, not me. If you can't, then there is no evidence.

Kelly Family said...

Why didn't you mark your boxes honestly though? Why not admit Abigail Adams studied classics? Why not admit Gandhi studied classics? Why not put your little authoritative X's there? Michaelangelo (are paintings not classics? You don't think he studied the works of his masters?) The list of GLARING errors is so ridiculous, it makes any other claim you make suspect.

You want me to assume the level of study of the scriptures an average seminary student does is the same as Joseph Smith? really? At what age? 14? when he was 18? When he was 25? You mean when he translated the Bible that's about the level a seminary student goes into the scriptures? translating the Book of Mormon gave him no extra insight than your average seminary student?

Must all studying be done before leadership?that doesn't even make sense-any good leader would be inspired by the challenges of his stewardship. I don't see any reason to support that claim. All 8000 hours?


You condemn DeMille for exagerating to support his claims when you yourself are far more guilty of the same charge.

J.L.L said...

I added an x for Abigail Adams studying the classics and Eisenhower having a mentor.

Are there are others you think need new X's?

Kelly Family said...

You want to know what I think?

I think you should take down your checklist, research each person on the list, then decide where to put the x's.

The glaring errors make it obvious you didn't do this-or worse, you did this and choose to lie to prove your point.

You are assuming people don't know Gandhi got his law degree in England and he studied the Bible, the koran and the bagavad gita in depth. dismiss western thought-are you kidding? that's a rather simplistic view of Gandhi.

You are assuming Michaelangelo's study of paintings don't count as studying classics.

You are assuming translating the Book of Mormon and being mentored by Moroni isn't significant enough to qualify.

A simple google search would have solved most of your quandries...

To assume Isaac Newton didn't have a mentor because you didn't bother to google search even is beyond silly.


You either haven't done your homework (that's the kindest solution I can some up with), or you are intentionally deceiving people to make your point.

By ANY definition of classic you have glaring errors on your list. WHY?

By even a strict concept of mentor you have glaring errors and assumptions...why?

me adding a few x's won't help the problem.

J.L.L said...

You have to qualify classics to some degree. You can't have your cake and eat it too. You keep on accusing me of getting the characterization wrong of who studied what, but it doesn't change the overall picture. The burden of proof is on DeMille (and those who support the idea) that "nearly all leaders" had classics and mentors as key elements in their lives that shaped them to become leaders.

And you need to show that their study was some determining factor. If 99% of a people had the same exposure to the Bible, then what was it that made some leaders and others not? If Joan of Arc, or Charlemagne, had the Bible read to them similar to their peers, what caused them to stand out? Why didn't their peers become leaders? Why don't all people who have the Bible read to them become leaders?

Why don't kids who read Caesar's Gallic Wars in school become leaders? So many people have had the same exposure to "the classics" as the leaders in the table above that how could "the classics" be the determining factor in them becoming leaders?

We can't be so naive to think "classics and mentors are key to what made great leaders great." I'm puzzled why so many people in TJEd accept this claim. And the fact that there have been so many people going through TJEd and GWU reading the classics, even with "mentors" yet no leaders have emerged on par with the above list.

The truth is that there is way more to the development of leaders than classics and mentors. They weren't even key factors. Students of history I think know this. People who don't, believe DeMille's claims. I think that's what so interesting about history, to see how different factors converge to produce truly remarkable people. Saying that "classics and mentors have been key to nearly all great leaders" is like saying that sandwiches are key to producing great athletes.

Like I've said in other posts, I love reading the classics. They are very valuable. But, I suppose, because I read some before being exposed to TJEd, I didn't fall for DeMille's oversimplistic claims. I also haven't needed to spend any money for any seminars, or curricula, or lecture tapes, or mentoring, or certifications, or schools, from TJEd or GWU.

Time will tell, Kelly, whether all the mentored study of the classics by all the TJEd parents and kids and GWU students will produce any leaders at all on par with the great leaders we have been discussing.

Kelly Family said...

You are still missing the point entirely. Your little checklist is wrong no matter WHAT standard of classic is used. If you want to dodge the issue by adding an additional burden of proof that now DeMIlle has to prove how the classics affected the leader significantly...it doesn't change the point.

Are you really equating serious study of the bible, with someone who had the bible read to them...

I can't help you.

If you want to change your premise, fine, but you still need to take down your checklist if you want to AT ALL be considered intellectually honest.

Do you get that? Lying about who has studied classics and who has not HURTS you more than it hurts DeMille. Saying people don't have mentors when they clearly do, saying people haven't studied classics when they clearly have...that is lying with intent to harm another person and his philosophy. You will only win a few ignorant sheeple and not anyone with an actual brain and 5 seconds of google time.

Why not stick to your real talking point "I hate demille and his sheeple following".


Or better yet, why not go on your way and do what will be best for your family.

J.L.L said...

Kelly, I changed some of the X's based on info you provided. I asked if there were others you think I should change. How is that intellectually dishonest? I think the list is good as it stands and I explained why.

You refuse to address the issue of the claim that "nearly all great leaders had classics and mentors as key to them becoming leaders." You want to nitpick at one particular level and avoid the others.

I would guess that this blog is the first real challenge many TJEd parents have ever faced about TJEd. So much of TJEd and GWU is preaching to the choir that when they finally run across a challenge of the claims, they usually think the challenger is stupid or evil. They usually think there is some glaring mistake that can be pointed out in a heartbest in a drive-by post, or that the person has some malicious intent to ruin people. That's a mistake.

After doing these types of discussions for awhile, the people that come in who are shocked and in disbelief that anyone would challenge TJEd are the ones that I suspect have never really given it a good questioning. They usually accuse me of some malicious intent and yet use backhanded insults and ad hominems. Once in awhile someone will not have such an emotion reaction and give a pretty good discussion. Usually though, people get flustered and start using all caps, insults, etc. What that really means is that people are uncertain about their position. They get scared. And I don't really expect that the person will be swayed, but it's still useful for others following along.

Good luck to you Kelly. I really hope you do what's best for your family.

Kelly Family said...

I challenge things about TJED and don't do them. I think DeMille exagerates some of his claims. I'm not defending that at all. I haven't even been to all the seminars, not certified..etc.



My problem with your post is you didn't put in the work first! Why would you put up a list without even so much as googling some of the people...changing it after the fact is something...but why change it based on what I say? Why not admit your list is incomplete and take it down until you KNOW it's right?

Nothing else you say is convincing if you are going to stick with such poor scholarship.

The Real George Wythe said...

Kelly Family,

Your accusations describe DeMille's scholarship almost to a tee.

Depending on your definition of the terms Mentor and Classic, you could make the argument that nearly everyone who has ever lived to maturity has had a mentor and exposure to a classic.

So how is this in any way a distinguishing feature of a leader?

?

Regards,

TRGW

Kelly Family said...

RGW are you justifying this lazy scholarship based on that?

The Real George Wythe said...

On the contrary, Kelly Family, JLL's scholarship is anything but lazy. You seem to be straining at a gnat while swallowing a camel. This entire blog is extremely well-researched, and JLL has freely admitted that, given your loose definitions of classics and mentors, these tables could be modified.

Your damning language toward JLL is uncalled-for and small.

The Real George Wythe said...

And Kelly Family, you didn't answer my question.

Kelly Family said...

I don't see classics and mentors as distinguishing features of a leader I see them as good preparation for a leader. I'm not arguing that every leader had classics and a mentor. I dont' know how DeMille sees them so I'll let him defend himself.

I defined classics earlier...

Look at what JLL writes though...Gandhi's LAW degree is represented as "studied some at a university". REALLY? a law degree? also in Englad he read the Bible and the Baghavad Gita thoroughly(both were read with friends and with a lot of discussion and thought-as identified by him). He later read the Koran. All three impacted his behavior significantly. His experiences in England also helped him realize the discrimination happening elsewhere. You would be hard pressed to say his significant education didn't greatly prepare him for his leadership.

Michaelangelo. I identify paintings as classics. I can understand if some people don't. If you accept that definition it would be impossible to assume micaelangelo didn't study Classics in depth.

Abigail Adams he didn't change until I said something despite the ready availability of that information...that is of course if you consider Shakespeare a classic, but perhaps that is too general a definition for you?

JLL thinks Joseph Smith translating the Book of Mormon and translating the Bible would result in teh kind of knowledge about both books that "your average seminary student" would have...are you kidding? Do you feel that is true? I personally would include Moroni as Joseph Smith's early mentor.

Socrates-we have no record, yet if their educational tradition held, his class status would have availed him to classics and their concept of education included mentors-which is the only way we know about Socrates, from Plato who he mentored. Not everyone (as JLL indicates) at the time read classics...Socrates was higher class. It would be more accurate to assume the majority of the people weren't high class and didn't have the classics available to them or the TIME to study them-even if they did (which is doubtful) have the ability to read. There I'm not arguing with the lack of x's but with his treatment of the subject. Are we supposed to assume that everyone slaves included, poor included could even read the same classics as socrates, so his study was not unique?

Isaac Newton has a Mentor-Isaac Barrows. He listened to his lectures as a young man, Barrows helped Newton get his works known and gave up his chair for newton. A fairly significant relationship. http://galileoandeinstein.physics.virginia.edu/lectures/newton.html

Galileo considered Archimedes his mentor. I have a hard time arguing with that.

Washing and Dinwiddles letters back and forth have lead many to establish Dinwiddle as a mentor for Washington. You read the letters and see what you think...some are found here http://www.vahistorical.org/washington/resources_3.9.1754.htm

Kelly Family said...

I don't have time to go through every person on the list, I just wonder why JLL didn't go through every person more thoroughly. Some of these things I knew from my reading and some I googled and was astounded with the easiness and readiness of the information.

Note I'm not trying to make everyone fit, I don't think that list is going to end up all x's and I dont' have any vested interest that it does. I've only ever heard DeMIlle speak once. If he says every leader MUST have had classics and mentors-then that is an exageration obviously.

The thing is JLL doesn't even include readily accessible information. Why is that? Why does he identify Gandhi's law degree as "Some university"? Why not identify Galileo's mentor if Galileo himself felt Archimedes was that important?

Given these large errors do you think I should take JLL seriously? I really think he should take down the list until he has gone through each person more carefully and written his analysis more precisely. Or atleast googled for 10 minutes-which is how I found some of this.

Go on, try it. Google some of these names and read about their mentors of which their is "no indication".

Just for fun I googled John Locke just now...huh it identifies a mentor, Robert Boyle. http://www.egs.edu/resources/locke.html
Then I googled that relationship... it comes up over and over again, and although Locke is friends with other greats (Newton for example), Boyle is consistantly listed as mentor. No mention from JLL.


Did he not even google? Could he not even put (possible mentor Boyle) down, if he felt there is not enough evidence of a significant relationship.

Do you see my problem here at all?

huh just googled Dante...his mentor could be Brunetto, whom he includes in his work "Inferno" as a guide along with Virgil. although some sites list that Brunetto had a "significant but possibly not formal" role in his education JLL has not googled and doesn't even know of the possibility.

Kelly Family said...

Huh, although william Bradford had no formal education he did study the Bible intensely (don't know if that is enough-I would question whether that is enough) and had a mentor... http://www.pilgrimfathers.visitnottingham.com/exec/135348/12257/

A mentor that brought him to America, which is somewhat significant if you think about it...

was the mentor "enough" to qualify as a mentor? wiki just lists him as an advisor to the governor, and Britanika says "Brewster, the only university-trained member of the Plymouth community, was the real leader of the church. As its senior elder he dominated the formulation of its doctrines, worship, and practices. He was not a magistrate, but by virtue of his close association with the governor, William Bradford, he played a major role in civil as well as religious affairs."

Maybe not enough, i don't know, but worth a mention and certainly not in the "no indications" category.

Do you see why I think the scholarship was lazy?

The Real George Wythe said...

KF, you have a point on the listing. I'm curious though about your comment that you "don't see classics and mentors as distinguishing features of a leader" but "see them as good preparation for a leader," and that you're "not arguing that every leader had classics and a mentor."

Even though you make some good points about JLL's table, it seems you two agree on the concept that classics and mentors have not been key elements in developing most great leaders.

I'm curious then where that leaves this whole concept of "A Thomas Jefferson Education" being the key formula for leadership development, which DeMille claims. Could it be that he is actually wrong, and is leading scores of homeschool families down the primrose path?

The Real George Wythe said...

Point of clarification on my last comment: I think the main accusation here against DeMille's TJEd theory is that he may be OMITTING crucial elements of an education.

Could it be that textbooks, professors, structured content, basic requirements (groundwork), and even some complexity -- all frowned on in TJEd -- are vital ingredients for developing future leaders?

Kelly Family said...

TRG,

My husband is a highschool history teacher. He sees daily what the conveyor belt looks like. It is definitely about teaching you what to think..specifically what things will help you pass the lovely multiple choice test which dictates all things. (thank you for making that even worse no child left behind). Many schools spend up to one month learning testing techniques and cramming for THE multiple choice test.

Contrast that with what has been going on at our house. The oldest three children have been reading Lord of the Rings. The oldest copied out all of the poems for fun and is rereading just the poetry. the younger two are interested in learning Quenya and/or creating their own language. We've had a week of making codes and discussing how codes are different than languages. The latest code has a numerical value for each letter and to translate into the code each number is multiplied by 5 and divided by 2 (son's idea). In the process we've learned about linguistics-phonemes, fricatives, dipthongs... Last week technically I wasn't "doing anything" It was thanksgiving, I had meals to prepare, family things planned, trip to the zoo with dad etc. This all happened with little input from me, aside from admiring the copy work, and reading an article about Quenya aloud.

That style of learning is based on DeMille's concepts.

I strongly believe that to study any one subject in depth you will learn math and science and history and literature. I've seen it.

The extremist view of NO textbooks, NO...isn't supported by listening to DeMille.

Remember DeMilles' concept of classics (not mine) includes some textbooks. College can be a part of education (which would have to include professors and structured content). The goal is not classics and mentors, the goal is an education to match your mission.

So if you've found textbook that's great for your child-that would contradict Demille's philosophy-which leads to another point. Who cares? If TJED isn't right for you, go on your way.

I don't mind your website bringing to light awful financial dealings, but again, how does that mean anything about his educational philosophy. Mother Teresa wasn't so hot financially, but I doubt he people dying in her arms felt less comforted because of it.


I don't like people deifying Demille, but neither does it make sense to suggest he is the devil incarnate. Use your time developing your own educational philosophy. It's harder than it looks, but I bet you'd find it very rewarding.

Kelly Family said...

meant to say a good textbook here and there WOULDN'T contradict DeMilles philosophy

J.L.L said...

Kelly, I'm just curious. Does your husband agree with DeMille's claim that nearly all leaders had classics and mentors as key in their lives? I'm really not trying to rehash this point. You mentioned that he was a high school history teacher, so I wonder what his opinion is.

As for the three forms of schooling, what you describe going on in your home happens in lots of homeschooling homes that don't do TJEd. I think The 3 forms of schooling are a set of false choices. Another oversimplification. So DeMille creates 3 forms, makes 2 seem really undesirable, and the third encompasses everything else that has anything of merit....and that's called the "leadership" form.

I'm no fan of the public school system, hence my kids are homeschooled. But I remember sitting in a class at the UHEA conference when the presenter of a TJEd class said "there are three forms of education" and listed them off, and I was like, huh?

Kelly, why to TJEd parents just accept DeMille's characterization of the past, of education methods, of child development? Why do they just accept it without challenge?

Kelly Family said...

JLL until you change your post to reflect the glaring flaws, or at least address the glaring flaws in your article, I don't really see a point in speaking with you.

What do you think about the research reflecting HUGE gaps in your chart? Did you not know those things? Did you not research? Have you checked what I've put up?

Kelly Family said...

TRGW

We want to raise scientists, not children well read on science. Textbooks encourage repeating science experiments and discussing scientific principles. I don't find that they encourage actual curiosity and logic in how to consider solutions. I do think base knowledge is good, but I look as textbooks as reference material, not the foundation of education.

Kelly Family said...

It also occurs to me, JLL that your actual beef is not with Demille, but with the devotees...that select group of people who take every word from his lips in an extremist for as absolute truth not to be questioned.

they are stepping on the TJED conveyor belt. If Rachelle DeMille bought a purple dress they would rush to the store. They read the same books in the same order, without a thought to be had. They don't attempt to personalize the principles. They assume that no leader has ever existed except he had classics and mentors, nary a textbook, nary a professor or test. (though Demille has never said such things).

They assume that ONLY THEY the chosen few who show enough devotion (and spend enough money) are really following tjed, and are bitter that others don't do likewise. The world will be bereft of leadership and will wallow in slavery if YOU don't pay $x to rent a mentor and get certified.

DeMille doesn't like them either.

I don't like them.

I'm glad when I hear of other homeschoolers succeeding. They don't have to do it exactly like me, in fact I really hope they don't.

To fight that sheeple trend, the devoteism DON'T exagerate DeMille. Don't make his statements hyperbole. Argue for logic and balance. Show what is good for true leaders, perhaps a textbook here and a professor there. DeMille would agree, whether you like it or not.

The Real George Wythe said...

Kelly,

If some textbooks are classics, then why compartmentalize at all? Why not just say some books are better than others, since certainly some non-"textbook" books on a subject can be inferior as well.

Doesn't that blow the whole "classics, not textbooks" notion out of the water?

Now, I wouldn't quibble so much if DeMille actually provided a clear definition of what he means by Classics and what he means by Textbooks.

But with no good definitions, he might as well change it to "good books, not bad books."

Kelly Family said...

Perhaps he's leaving it at classics because he wants the standards for textbooks to be high. He's alos trying to encourage people to use textbooks as tools, not the standard method of learning. Its a hard shift to make. I think that's why he doesn't muddle to the good books thing....

so is JLL going to change the list or is he really busy or is he jsut not going to change it?

I think a good discussion on TJED is a good idea....

J.L.L said...

Kelly, the chart is accurate. I even asked you if you thought there were changes needed to be made. You said you weren't going to talk to me until I fix the chart, but yet you keep posting. You keep on mentioning "glaring errors" with the chart but don't say specifically what they are. You are using the supposed inaccuracy of the chart as a way to avoid any other discussion. I think that's disingenuous.

I am still interested in knowing your husband's opinion since he is a high school history teacher.

As for my beef with devotees, yes that's a concern of mine. A big reason I have created this blog isn't so much of the claims DeMille has made, but that people have believed them. Some people seem to believe anything he says, about the past, about child development, and about husband-wife relationships. If no one paid him any attention, I wouldn't write this blog. If people I know hadn't gotten a really bad impression of homeschoolers from TJEd parents, I wouldn't have written this blog.

People often tell me to just let people do whatever works for them Well, I've seen TJEd work really badly for people and I feel bad for the kids. I also do not want TJEd to be what people think of regarding homeschooling. It has created a bad impression of homeschooling. It has affected me and my family' ability to homeschool. So no, I'm not going to let TJEd jeopardize my family's ability to homeschool. It affects me. I am going argue against the incorrect principles and practices that are in TJEd.

But I don't have a vendetta. In fact, I want all the TJEd people to just critically reevaluate TJEd but continue homeschooling. I know people who couldn't do all that TJEd requires, even though they went to all the seminars, were doing the recommendations, had mentors, etc. And they eventually gave up and sent their kids back to school. And they felt like failures. And for what? Because some guy made up some conclusions about past leaders and drew up all these arbitrary requirements to raise the "leaders of the future" and used a bunch of guilt to get parents to keep doing it.

It's too bad that we have all these good parents who have taken the leap of faith to home school...only to get caught up in a faulty educational philosophy of man that gives homeschooling a bad name and jeopardizes their own kids' learning.

Kelly Family said...

I have posted MANY links of possible changes you could make. You have not discussed them. You have not addressed them in any way. MANY of the people on the list have mentors you have not considered. Why?

Why do you continue with Gandhi's education as some study at university, when it is a LAW degree? Why don't you consider his intense study of the Bible, Koran and Bagavad Gita as at least something to consider?

Why do you consider JS' translating the Bible and Book of Mormon as the equivalence to the knowledge your average seminary student would have? Would you consider Moroni a mentor? Or does the person have to be living on this earth?

Do you not consider art classics? If you do Michelangelo's education surely qualifies.

How can you decide William Bradford's study of the Bible as intense or his mentor as worthy unless you have read his letters?

There is information available that you have not researched yet you pronounce your list accurate.


What do we do about Galileo who considers Archimedes as a mentor...who am I to argue? I can understand if you don't want to include that mentor, but isn't it worth a mention?

Isaac Barrow's impact on Isaac newton goes unmentioned in your chart.


Please respond so I know that you are actually interested in honest scholarship. When you are accusing someone of dishonest scholarship and you yourself aren't honest it doesn't work. Can you see why I continue the conversation with TRG and don't want to discuss other topics with you?

My husband is not as well read as I am-that was his first response. Yes he has a cute little certificate, so perhaps that makes his opinion more valid? I will tell you he's a mentor fan though, because he has a mentor. A man who has greatly influenced his life and education and philosophy. This man is still there for him whenever he has questions. He's also a classics fan because he's worked with too many textbooks.

J.L.L said...

Kelly, I've repeatedly explained the issue about the Bible being considered a classic. It is a classic. But if everyone has read it, then it is meaningless to say that "classics" have been key to great leaders. Do you understand that if you make "classics" include so much that practically everyone has read them, then that cannot be a differential factor in people becoming leaders? Please respond to this so I know that you understand.

Do you understand that if we count the Bible as a classic then all Christians automatically have met the "classics" requirement for becoming a great leader? All of them. Do you understand how this actually weakens DeMille's argument that classics are somehow key to a person becoming a great leader?

Do you understand that if we include the Bible as a classic here that all Bible readers have had enough exposure to the "classics" so that no further exposure to any other classics is required? Because that's all other leaders had. Just the Bible.

Do you understand that including the Bible here weakens DeMille's claims that you need 5000-8000 hours of mentored study of "the classics?"

J.L.L said...

Regarding Ghandi, like I said before, he repudiating Western ideas. He read "the classics" of the West and then dropped them for the most part. Should someone who reads the Communist Manifesto and then denounces it count the Manifesto as a classic?

"Why do you consider JS' translating the Bible and Book of Mormon as the equivalence to the knowledge your average seminary student would have?"

That's not what I said. I said that the average seminar students exposure is as much exposure as Joseph Smith had, not that their knowledge was equivalent. If Joseph Smith's exposure to "the classics" only included private and family study of the Bible, then that's what seminary students have. No further exposure to any other classics should be necessary to be a leader. Do you agree?

As for Moroni being a mentor, it's a hard call, but in this sense I would say no. Moroni had not done what Joseph Smith did so we couldn't really say that he was helping Joseph become what he himself had become in terms of the mission Joseph had to do. A teacher, yes, coach maybe, guide, etc., yes, but in the sense that Moroni had someone achieved what Joseph would in his calling, no.

Art classics are really difficult to determine. Michelangelo of course had teachers and had studied other works, but what were the classical paintings at the time? Michelangelo broke the mold. He excelled beyond what anyone else had. This is why I said elsewhere that the truly great leaders tend to not have mentors in what they accomplish because they break new ground. Sometimes they break out of the box or go to a higher level that no one else had. They create the classic perhaps. So what "classics" did they study when they surpass anything before them?

"How can you decide William Bradford's study of the Bible as intense or his mentor as worthy unless you have read his letters?"

I've read his journal about Plymouth Plantation. I am thoroughly impressed with him. Again, besides the Bible (which I have already discussed) I found no evidence that any classics were particularly important to him, at least no more than any other of his contemporaries.

Archimedes as Galileo's mentor? How can we even work with these definitions? So now a mentor does not even need to have any contact with the one mentored? That the mentor does not even need to know him? That they can live hundreds of years apart?

Isaac Barlow as Newton's mentor. What is the standard for a mentor? We have to distinguish between a teacher or a person that influences another, and a mentor. Isn't there a difference? Seriously, this is why I defined classic and mentor right off the bat. I had a professor in college that encouraged me to go to grad school. Is he a mentor because of that?

J.L.L said...

Now, let's no forget the leaders DeMille specifically listed:

Who was Abraham Lincoln's mentor? Really, who?

Who was John Locke's mentor? Remember that DeMille says he "discovered" this through research, so we should be able to discover it, too. Lack of evidence would mean DeMille actually did not discover what he said he did.

Abigail Adams mentor? Do you know?

Joan of Arc's mentor? One of the more fascinating people in all of history. Who was her mentor?

All this should be readily available and should stand out so much as to strike the individual as to something that all these people had in common, yet different from others. We should not only find the mentors of all these people, but find it striking that their experience was different from other in their mentoring. Same for their study of the classics.

If we find: Person A learned the Bible as much as the average person. Or that Person B was influenced by someone like most people are influenced by someone. Then this would not be evidence that their experiences with classics and mentors were somehow different from the norm, that those were the key ingredients. Don't you agree?

J.L.L said...

If Joseph Smith had the Bible as his classic, and Moroni as his mentor, what do kids in the church today have? Not only do they have the Bible, they have the Book of Mormon, The Pearl of Great Price, the Doctrine and Covenants. They have seminary classes. They have course manuals. I'd say they have at least as much as Joseph Smith did in terms of classics.

Today kids have President Monson, the Quorum of the 12, the General Authorities, a Stake President, Bishop, and youth leaders. If we consider a "mentor" like Galileo did to Archimedes, then they even have Joseph Smith. Even all the past presidents. So I'd say LDS kids today have as much in terms of mentors as Joseph Smith did.

So what on earth does TJEd have to offer that LDS kids need? If they have as much and more as Joseph Smith, what more do they need in terms of classics and mentors to become great leaders? What is it that DeMille discovered that they need?

J.L.L said...

Joan of Arc, led the French to several victories, with only a peasant girl's knowledge of the Bible. She most likely couldn't read, so she probably had the Bible read to her and stories told to her by local clergy. That's all she needed to lead masses of French troops to victory. She did not study 5000 to 8000 hours of anything. She did not study "military classics" yet she became a great military leader. What of TJEd did she need? If that's all the "mentored study of the classics" she needed, then what more is required of anyone else to become a great leader? What more would an 18-year-old church-going girl need to day to do the same thing, if classics and mentors were the key and Joan of Arc was an example?

William Bradford studied the Bible and from its tenets was able to lead a colony of people in the New World. He did not study classics of government or administration. He did not spend 5000 to 8000 hours of farming, fishing, construction, seamanship, warfare. All he needed was the Bible for his classic. Why wouldn't that be enough? Why would he need to study like DeMille says is necessary, even common to all leaders?

From these two examples at least, all you need is the Bible. You don't need any other classic, even for non-religious skills. Maybe that's been the key to great leaders: the Bible. Not the Bible plus other classics (since many leaders only had the Bible). Just the Bible.

Wouldn't it be interesting to look at DeMille's claims and replace the word "classics" with "the Bible." And drop all the other seminars about coming "face to face with greatness." Drop all the "certified mentors." Drop the "5 Pillar certification" since none of the leaders of the past needed that. Drop the notions of Phases of Development, since I doubt Joan of Arc's parents or Bradford's parents had any clue about that. Just let parents act normally towards their kids.

This sounds more in line to what the leaders of the past had. This would be much cheaper, much easier, less confusing, less time-consuming, more in-line with what the leaders of the past actually experienced, and yield more leaders I would bet.

I'd call it "homeschooling."

Kelly Family said...

I've said before that considering the Bible a classic does NOT mean everyone who has read it qualifies as well studied. It would take a much more than normal study of the Bible. Would the person read it 1 hour a day? 2? Would they frequently write about it and apply it much more than usual? It would take more than a verse a day on a cute little calender. It would take more than a a chapter a day, or a 1/2 a day. It would also take a lot of meditation and application.

Gandhi-When Gandhi went to England he saw for the first time in his life a society without the HUGE burden of segregation. Yes there was still prejudices in England at that time, but nothing near the extent of apartheid in south africa and the caste system in India. That experience-changed his life. Perhaps because he wore homespun and fought for Indian culture and independence, you can say he threw off western thought, but he quoted the bible throughout his life, and clung to that idea of equality he first saw in England. That is why I have a hard timewith you not counting his studies there. Also why the continued "some university" for his law degree?

as for studying the communist manifesto and repudiating it... isn't it critically important to study the opposition? Studying a poor form of government can better help you identify what is poor about it and what is good about another.

Abraham Lincoln...both William Graham or Jack Hammonds are interesting candidates- atleast look at them as options.

Robert Boyle is commonly considers John Lockes mentor...something worth checking into.

Isaac Barrows-Newton is a VERY considerable relationship. newton listened to his lectures, Barrows introduced him into the scientific society, got his papers published, got him work and gave up his chair for him. It was not a minor relationship.

Michelangelo studied greek and roman statues while learning sculpting-I'm googling to find what pictures he would have been looking at...

In reading Wiliam bradford's letters what did he say about the role of Brewster? Would you at all consider him a candidate for a mentor? You've read more about him, what do you think?

As far as strict education, I would have to know more, but Abigail's grandma guided her learning. I'm not sure if that would count or what specifically happened there.

Seriously? reading the manuals is the same as translating the book? Have you ever translated anything? Do you have any idea what kind of thought process would go into that? Look at the translation of the Bible and all of the thought that went into that, the prayer and study and revelation... your average seminary student has that much meditation and thought just because they have manuals? It's not the quantity of books you have available it's the depth of your study.



All of the mentors helped their student beyond them. George Whythe started far beyond education than Thomas Jefferson, but by the end, who was greater? Is you standard of mentor that in the end the mentor still has to be the greater in the end? Than none of the leaders here had mentors. IMO a mentor should be able to teach principles so the student can not only do what the teacher has done, but do what the student can do. Yes the mentor should begin ahead of the student-a long way ahead, but how sad if no one they mentored surpassed them. What a poor mentor they would be.

I agree Archimedes is a problematic mentor for Galileo, but is it worth a mention at all because Galileo considered him a mentor? It challenges my concept of mentor.

Kelly Family said...

I still don't have a clue with your Joseph Smith analogy. Access to classics does not automatically equal in depth study. A yearly one on one with Angle moroni seems a little more intense than your average teen's take on general conference. Yes we have a prophet and twelve apostles, does the average teen get to meet them in person once a year to be prepared for their mission in life?

Pondering, praying and receiving enough revelation for the whole church to fill a bulk of the Doctrine and Covenants is more intensive than reading it for seminary at 5am with your eyelids propped open.

What teens can learn from TJED is an invitation to read directly from the classics. To expand their vision of what kind of education they can have, and what kinds of things they can do. The accountability and personal tutelage of a mentor can further this learning. Any great form of education is going to involve an in depth study of classics. A mentor is an incredible thing.

all these things are readily google-able and I have links in previous posts. Start with each name and mentor...then research that person and that relationship and go from there.

What did you do before you made your list?

I don't find any information for Joan of Arc

J.L.L said...

Kelly I think we agree that leaders in the past had people that influenced and read books that influenced them. But what was it that was key to them being great leaders? Don't you think it's an oversimplification that it was classics and mentors?

And what do we do with the leaders that didn't have in depth study of the classics, like Joan of Arc, or didn't have any mentors, like Abraham Lincoln? I think we can safely say that there were other factors involved that were more important than any classics or mentors.

But all this is just to evaluate the claim that nearly all leaders had classics and mentors as key. I think it's plain that for nearly all leaders in the past, other things, perhaps different for each person, were key to them becoming leaders.

Because if someone claims to be discovering what most leaders in the past experienced, and saying that parents need to follow the same, then it's pretty important to get right what makes a leader a leader. I'm sure you'd agree with that.

But it's not whether we can find some examples in the past of leaders having classics and mentors, but rather that most of them did, and that those two aspects were crucial. Do you think history show this to be true?

Kelly Family said...

So your leaving the rest of that alone and not even going to google?


sigh


here's my deal. Studying classics and having a mentor-that's great stuff. That really makes for a great education. I've seen it. Anyone who reads classics is better off. They are more educated and better prepared to think.

I think it is interesting to consider what makes a leader. IMO a leader is better off having studied the classics than had they not. If you have the choice-study classics.


This is where I don't always get Demille. I don't know that my children will all be statesmen (or rather stateswomen, as we have 6 daughters and 2 sons) in the going to be a politician sense. I do know they will have opportunities to lead. I also know they will vote and choose leaders. I know studying classics will make them better prepared to make wise choices.

Washington is an interesting example here...he did study, but isn't known to be well read. He is also known to have wished he had been more well read. He never said, well it sure didn't hurt that I didn't read more classics. He thought it would have helped him. He bemoaned his state. Perhaps that is because of the greatness and the well read people around him. We know he's not lying ;). Washington obviously needed a well read opinion and valued it.

A side note here-kinda a foil for washington-Henry Knox. His only preparation was his studies in the classics. He didn't have much if any practical preparation at all. Was it his studies that brought the cannon from Ticonderoga? Or was it the determination he learned from his studies? Was he motivated by the great leaders he had read about? or did the very nature of perseverence involved in studying prepare him to succeed?

Classics can only help a leader. The ability to think can only help a leader.

J.L.L said...

I don't disagree with what you wrote. Washington and Knox are good examples of great leaders that took very different paths. But I think that's the point: there really is nothing is common among the great leaders of the past. Their backgrounds have been so varied. And the flip side is that to become a leader cannot really be determined beforehand. There are no prerequisites to leadership. Character traits, perhaps, but not things a person must do.

That's my first beef with TJEd, the fact that it claims to have figured out what made great leaders, which are classics and mentors. I don't buy it.

But why do you keep on accusing me of not doing my research and not googling? I did and I have been, and I write my opinions on the results.

Kelly Family said...

why is Gandhi's education as "some university"? throwing off the culture is not the same as throwing off western thought. studying the three great religious books he did isn't "no indication he studied classics to a large degree " no indication other than the study groups and him quoting them the rest of his life.

Abigail and Eisenhower's changes were a google a way.

barrows and Newton-a google a way

Washington's mentor...google

Boyle and Locke? google

I'm just suggesting you google. I'm not saying you'll accept every mentor, but why so many "no indications" when google would have given you some leads. Then you could research-but that's hardly difficult to find information.

When I adjust the chart (not including archimedes or Moroni) we have huge differences. So instead of ALL leaders studied classics we have-most leaders. So instead of classics being key-they are what? Bad for leaders? Almost every leader who had the opportunity chose to study classics.

J.L.L said...

I understand that you think Joan of Arc should count as having read the classics because the local clergy would read her the Bible at church. A reasonable person does not. A reasonable person does not see any mentor of Abraham Lincoln. Cicinnatus didn't have any classics to study. Galileo didn't have a mentor. Reasonable people recognize this. That's enough right there to show that DeMille's claim that nearly all leaders in the past had classics and mentors is not reality. It is not a problem with me failing to google people. It's DeMille's faulty understanding and interpretation of history.

It's noted that you disagree, and others will use their own judgment on whether your disagreement holds water. If there are other disagreements you have aside from the chart, then feel free to post them. Otherwise, I think there's not much point of going in circles anymore.

Kelly Family said...

I don't think Joan of Arc should count as studying the classics...I haven't a clue why you think I do.

That the claim is exagterated does not excuse YOUR lazy scholarship.

Leave your glaring errors, it makes it all the easier for anyone with google and a brain to check your "facts".

Kelly Family said...

I haven't a clue why you think *I* think Joan of Arc studied classics because she was read the bible in church. Are you kidding? I don't think she studied classics and never said otherwise.

Keep your glaring errors, it makes it all the easier for anyone iwth google and a brain to check your "Facts".

Anonymous said...

I really do think it is ridiculous to keep asking some one to google. Kelly Family "Anyone with a brain" also knows that google does not screen information. I would also suggest actually reading what JLL writes in the comment he has stated several times that he has googled and researched, what he is doing is writing his opinion on the results. From the looks of it you have missed that part. I think I read on one of your comments that there was no point in talking to JLL (not a direct quote just something I think I seen) Why don't you do what you said and do us who tire of reading the same argument each time (I have failed to see anything other than google this or google that from your posts)and not post further unless you can bring us new, actual researched information on said arguments. (sites other than google, try something a little more trustworthy)

Kelly Family said...

Anonymous, when I first read through JLL's list, the first error I noticed was Gandhi's education. Having recently read Louis Fischer's biography of Gandhi I knew some of Gndhi's education. I believe most people would describe a law degree as more than "some university". The biography also discussed gandhi's studies in the koran, bagavad gita and the bible-unmentioned in Jll's account. He also said Gandhi's education wasn't that critical because "he renounced western ideas anyway". No. He renounced much of western culture-dressing in homespun, spinning daily and walking (fasting and meditation are frequently considered eastern)--so yes the culture he renounced-but the ideas? His first taste of freedom was in England-it certainly was not in the caste system of India nor apartheid south africa. Freedom and independence were two critical ideas he learned and experienced first in England.

Anyway-you didn't need to read all that-but those were some of my thoughts as I read JLL's list. I noticed some other things that weren't right-Abigail Adams, which although he considered his list well researched orinally he changed based on googled information I suggested. I also wonderd about michaleangelo studying classics-art works and sculpture, some of th mentors that were unmentioned.

JLL said this information should be readily accessible, so I googled.
The sources I chose from google were not wikipedia and random site "x"...they were encyclopedias, Government sites, historian and library sites-more well known.

There are plenty of hints for additional information one could study based on simple googling (or the search engine of your choice for that matter). Finding the letters of Bradshaw for instance-an original source I googled to find.

Of course google doesn't screen things for you-you will need your brain for that. you will also need to decide for yourself what constitutes study of the classics or what constitutes a mentor.

I don't expect people to believe anything they read off the internet any more than I expect them to believe anything they read in a book.

Look for yourself. Use autobiographies, or orignal sources, or whatever you feel most confudent in.

Anonymous said...

This is an absolutely fascination conversation!
I thought I would throw in my two cents and then never look at this blog again.
First, I have deep gratitude for TJed. It was through reading TJed that my husband and I felt lead to begin home educating our kids. Teaching our kids at home was a foreign thought until TJed fell into my lap one day. Since that day two years about, my own education has deepened beyond my wildest imagination. I also know of numerous other parents who have started home educating their children because of reading TJed. TJed open their eyes and gave them the inspiration to make a radical lifestyle change and paradigm shift.
So for those of us who are new to the world of homeschooling, TJed is an inspiration and an eye opener. For that, we should all be thankful.
Second, many of the comments posted struck me as being not nessicary anti-TJed principles ( which, to my novice and obviously un-Classically trained mind appeared rather logical) but rather anti- Oliver DeMille. Not knowing Oliver DeMille, I cannot speak from experience but from the little I read about him from the posts it sounds as though he is a scheming man purposely leading people into falsehood. Does one throw out principles because they have a personal dislike of the messenger?
Third, I tend to agree with Donna. I’m curious to hear everyone’s thoughts on how to “do” education correctly. How does one grow leaders and thinkers? Most of you do not like TJed. I know why because I have read about it in this blog. But I would like to hear the alternative. As a curious person who is beginning my home education journey I am gathering ideas on how to best educate my own children and there is a great opportunity here in this blog to not only clearly articulate your reasons for not doing TJed but to provide other options.
Fourth, I also agree with Donna in that the definitions of Classics and Mentors seems to be used rather narrowly.
Fifth, I am not LDS and reading the comments made me thankful that I wasn’t. There was a vindictive spirit throughout the comments that went beyond critical and reasonable discourse. I would like to encourage you to think carefully how you speak to members of your own faith in public spheres. You may not know it, but others like me are watching and your words communicate something about your faith to me. I walked away from this Blog not thinking about the fallacies of TJed but rather wondering why people who claim to follow a loving God could be so mean and nit-picky towards each other.

Peace, ES
Watertown, NY

Anonymous said...

Thank you for all the discussion on TJED. Reading through this debate has reinforced my own positive experiences applying TJED principles, and it's inspired me in ways I can educate myself and my children better. The way some "strain at a gnat" has also caused me to reflect on my wise decision to not following any authority or leader blindly save Jesus Christ. All are human and non are past some error.
Donna, I appreciate you.
Anonymous (or ES), I hope you have further experiences with LDS people who might reflect more Christlike attributes. Whenever you come across Christians who do not seem Christlike, I hope you'll remember that Christ is the Master Physician and we, his followers, are weak and even needy. Luke 5:31 KJV "And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick."

Anonymous said...

J.L.L., thank you so much for your blog. I have been able to refer quite a number of people to it when I have had to explain that my family (homeschoolers for 9 years) does not follow Oliver DeMille and we do not agree with many of the main ideas of his books. I am glad to have this blog to refer people to when I am asked by his adherents to dump a great deal of money into Oliver DeMille's organizations. Thank you, J.L.L.

- A homeschooling mom to many for many years

Anonymous said...

I wanted to add the following:

Donna's comments seem to have so much anger and so little reason to them. I truly hope she is not really LDS, because her demeanor in her comments is a poor representation of my church.

Again, thank you for your well-reasoned analysis of Oliver DeMille's "A Thomas Jefferson Education", J.L.L.

- A homeschooling mom of many who has homeschooled for a long time

Anonymous said...

Typo Notice: In second paragraph under list of leaders, you write: "he would only being assert his own ideas " - I think you meant "be asserting"? Feel free to delete this comment after the correction.

Anonymous said...

"Yeah, Donna, easy on the number of posts.

First, all the classics that the GWC student read. That's great. I commend them. That is what people should strive for in their education. That's not what Joan of Arc did. That's not what Joseph Smith did. That's not what Cincinnatus did. That's not what most leaders did. I'll bet they would have liked to. But they didn't, and therefore can't be used as examples of leaders who studied the classics. Case closed."

That's not what Chaka Zulu did and he created and empire. The downfall of the Zulus was his underestimating the Boars, Brits etc.