We Don’t Know Why We Remember… Life Differently

joe-and-danny

I Don’t Know Why I Remember… by Daniel Patteson

I don’t know why I remember always wanting to watch my father shoot squirrels out of the flower garden. My father had beautiful flower gardens. There seemed to always be a magnificent color scheme of flowers surrounding the premise of our yard. Rings of dew covered rainbows poured around the huge Oaks and Sweetgum trees in the front yard. There the squirrels would be, those little rascals, digging up all the pansies, roses, and other assortments of flowers my father planted for my mother, trying to find all the acorns they could shove in their overflowing cheeks. Then I would hear it, the stomp of footsteps coming from the hallway closet; it was time! My dad would come running to the glass door with his brown pellet rifle in one hand, bbs in the other, checkered boxers his only clothing. Quietly he would open the glass door as to not startle the little creatures. At the first shot chaos ensued; blurred balls of fur shot fast as lightning to the nearest trees. Somehow my dad managed to hit every single one.  There I was, little five year old me, jumping up and down at his side, one hand holding his underwear, the other waving wildly in the air along with shouts of enjoyment and laughter. I don’t recall how often this occurred throughout the week, but I remember it being quite enjoyable.

I Don’t Know Why I Remember… by Josiah Patteson

I don’t know why I remember skinning a squirrel with my biological father when I was three or four years old. The expanse of our backyard consisted of a beautiful array of flowers, stepping stones, an older swing set and play house, and a koi pond in the making: the creation of a skilled landscaper. This was his domain. Every blade of grass, every flower, and every stone was exactly where it should be. He was the creator and maker of this land, and the squirrels only disrupted it. It was within the realm of the pond-in-the-making, on the wall of clay which resembled a water fall that cascaded into the pooled ground, that the furry critters met their doom. My father calmly walked out the back door, pellet gun in hand, as my brother and I played on the play-set. I watched as he raised his weapon towards the darned rodent. The squirrel was completely unaware of the danger it was in; for, it continued to paw the earth and dig up my father’s grass. A click sounded and a puff of air escaped the barrel. Down the enemy went, my father victorious. I followed my dad as he casually walked through the lush blades and soft pine straw to retrieve his kill, curious to see what he had done. Once the squirrel was in hand, we retraced our steps and made our journey to the picnic table. I remember the large skinning knife my father used to remove the scratchy, bristly fur and how it revealed the pink muscles and warm maroon blood that hid underneath the skin. I was fascinated by the colors and shapes of the inside of this small mammal. Once the skin and the guts were removed, my father grabbed a Ziploc bag and placed the squirrel inside. He then went back inside the house and placed his fresh kill in the freezer with the others, never to be touched again.

Why New College Franklin?

When I first visited New College Franklin as a sophomore in high school, I knew I wanted to attend. Now that I am here, I cannot even begin to say how much I have been blessed by being a part of the NCF community. The professors and the student body are everything to me.

One of the great attractions of New College Franklin is the overall environment. The whole atmosphere of New College is one of community, which is essential in a college. The sense of having a place that feels like home is exactly what New College is. The students are friendly, encouraging, and helpful. They are quick to answer questions about the college, the curriculum, and life as a student. Whenever I visited, I would find groups of students sitting in coffee shops studying, gathering for breakfast, lunch, or dinner on the weekends, or playing frisbee in the park. They are people of fellowship and I am happy to say I am now one of them.

The fellowship of New College Franklin is only one of the many things I was attracted to. Another benefit to attending NCF is the curriculum. The classes implement the Socratic method, which is a discussion-based method for learning and gaining knowledge in a group setting. This class setting is attractive to me. I can discuss the material with my professor and wrestle through the reading with my classmates without simply being lectured and then left to fend for myself. But the greatest benefit of the curriculum is that they do not simply train you for a specific task. Rather, they prepare you for life. The whole point of classical education is not to provide you with enough information to succeed in one area, but to excel in every subject. It forces you to interact and communicate. It shapes and grows who you are as a whole person.

Kate Deddens writes:

Grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric are in a balanced relationship with knowledge, understanding, and wisdom; that knowledge, understanding, and wisdom are in a balanced relationship with truth, beauty, and goodness; and that truth, beauty, and goodness are in a balanced relationship with humility, harmony, and hierarchy. Thus classical, Christian education is diffracted through intellectual characteristics into transcendent and aesthetic principles and into realms of virtue. Becoming educated through the classical model causes students to follow that trajectory in learning. This is why classical education hones the skills that produce the arts of the truly educated, free man. (Kate Deddens, Classical Educator)

Now, although this was on the topic of the Trivium (the first three liberal arts), it relates the same principles gained through studying the Quadrivium (the four higher liberal arts), as well. I hope that through my time at NCF I will be able to accomplish everything Deddens mentions — and more. I have already gained and accomplished much in the few months that I have been here, and I am eager to learn more.

Socrates once said, The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing.” I believe Fr. James Thornton explains this quote perfectly,

What [Socrates] meant is that the truly educated man is humbled by an understanding that whatever knowledge his education has conferred upon him, that knowledge is always limited, since learning is a quest that is never finished, never complete, but continues until the very end of one’s life.

I did not choose New College to learn a task and leave, but to be filled with knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. Upon finishing, I will not know everything, but I will continue on with the joyous quest.

In New College Franklin’s “Mission & Objectives,” they state,

“Therefore, the ultimate aim of New College Franklin is to raise up and send forth Christian leaders of orthodoxy and orthopraxy who are able to know, preserve and then pass on to future generations a heritage of Trinitarian life in the Lord.”

This is the ultimate reason I chose NCF. I believe New College will encourage me as I live my life fulfilling the commandments of Christ Jesus, nourish me as I struggle through life, and serve as a refreshing reminder every day to faithfully continue in my walk with God. As I have said before, and will continue to say, I have been greatly blessed to be a part of New College Franklin. I have already grown in my relationships with others and with my Savior in the few months here.

I hope that if you are interested in New College Franklin, you will definitely consider coming and checking us out. Our next Prospective Student Weekend is in March (18-20). We would love to have you!