March 3, 2009

The Year of the Essay

Eldest Dude is taking the most remarkable online writing class this year. He loves the class. I love that he loves it. I really can't speak highly enough of the Classical Writing curricula or of Kathy Weitz, the teacher for the online class. Here is Eldest Dude participating in his class last week, and the resulting essay...

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A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger. ~ Proverbs 15:1

God used many people to convey his teachings to us in the bible. One of these men was Solomon, the third king of Israel. Solomon was probably most noted for his great wisdom and his great architectural projects. But it was also Solomon whom God made the chief author of the book of Proverbs. It is in this book that Solomon says, “A soft answer turns wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.”

Essentially, this verse tells us to keep our calm when dealt a wound. By responding in anger to any such blow, we will be exposing even more harsh words and injuries to ourselves. However, if we respond in calm to these angry words, we can also calm our oppressors. The reasons for this we will observe in the following.

If we choose to follow this advice, we will find ourselves with many more friends and allies than if we choose to shout back at our tormentors. People will think highly of us, because self-control is one of the most admirable traits in a person. And instead of fighting back and offering our enemies more chances to hurt us, with a few gentle words we can settle the argument and prevent any further dispute.

If, on the other hand, we don’t follow this wisdom, we would be living a very miserable life with few friends or potential allies. When we have a reputation as an angry and brash arguer, we can’t expect others to trust or respect us very much. And in continuously arguing with our enemies, we only weaken our relationship more with them.

Likewise, when we quarrel with family, we can settle the dispute much quicker with kind, soothing words than with loud and hurtful arguments.

Aesop’s fable, “The Bear and the Bees”, can be a witness to this verse. One day, the bear was roaming the forest in search of food. He came upon a hornet nest, and curiously began to probe around it. He was still in the midst of this when one of the swarm returned home. The hornet guessed the purpose of the bear’s action, promptly stung him, and flew inside the nest. The bear, outraged and furious at this injury, flew at the nest to destroy it. This simultaneously brought out the entire swarm, and the bear was forced to run for his life, only barely escaping by jumping in a pool.

We cannot close this essay, without an acknowledgment of the accomplished mathematician and physicist, Blaise Pascal, who said, “Kind words don’t cost much. Yet they accomplish much.”

After observing all these points, we can see that this advice of God as penned by Solomon should be very closely followed.

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11 comments:

Tracy P. said...

Eldest Dude is not so short on words--yea for him that he is learning to choose them so wisely! Looks like the example from Lightning McQueen didn't make the final copy.

Heidi said...

I think you have a writer on your hands, Susan. :) Excellent essay. You must be a proud mom!!! I'm still waiting for the first chapter of his book...

MamáChanga said...

OMGoodness!! What a wonderful essay! Teachers only dream of students handing in essays of that quality. You must be one super proud mamá! What advanced college program did you say Eldest dude was attending? (Because you know with an essay like that he must surely be in college---LOL!!).

Hugs & Blessings! :)

fxmixer said...

What an absolutely fantastic essay! I learned something about restraint and kindness. Thank you for sharing this.

Piggy said...

How articulately and profoundly stated! I'm so proud of him for contributing to positive social change, so I can imagine how proud you must be as his mom! :)

Discipula said...

Thanks for the kind words, Susan...students like Cote make my job easy! :) He did a marvelous job on this essay.

Becca~TimeWellSpent said...

What a great essay. I agree, I believe you have a writer on your hands. He is also a well read boy. Tell him to keep writing!

Boybarian Dad said...

Isn't it awesome when your children love to write. I wish I had the opportunities that our kids have today.

That is a great essay and you should be a very proud mother, which i know you are. thanks for sharing this with everyone.

B Dad

theArthurClan said...

I think he is on his way to being a famous author someday! :) You must be so very proud of him.

kt mac said...

an awesome essay eldest dude! so well structured and planned.

You must be proud Susan.. how awesome to see him decontsructing a bible verse and the truths in it. Fantastic !!

Beth@Pages of Our Life said...

I love the tie in with Aesop's story and the related quote.

Great essay eldest dude and thanks for a lesson well told and explained. : D