My reflection today is intended primarily for Catholic parents, or really anyone interested in the topic of Catholic education – whether your students are homeschooled, go to a private Catholic school, non-Catholic private school, charter school, district school – certainly any Catholic or Christian family, as a school first and foremost should act as an extension of the work of the family. Perhaps mostly I am speaking today as a Catholic father.
Beneath the clear lines of contention in today’s culture, there is a striking consensus: the state of contemporary American education is one of alarming failure. While there may be anomalies here and there, the state of the nation today is one of educational poverty. Naturally many different causes and reasons are attributed for why this is the case, but the fact remains that American education is thought to be in dire straits. Despite this consensus, no one seems quite able to get a grip on the problem, or to even have a sense of direction as to how to we might address it. There seems to be a general trend of trying to throw more money and technology into schools, even if schools have clearly declined at the same rate as technology has been most aggressively injected into them.
Catholic education is not free from these challenges. The state of contemporary Catholic education, which at one point was the gold standard of academics, has participated in this perceived decline since at least the 60s and 70s. There has been a shift in the way in which Catholics respond to the educational needs of their children. One can merely observe the exponentially growing trend of homeschooling over the last few decades to see that the perception of Catholic education has changed. Those Catholic schools that do seem to retain the luster of an older reputation have tremendous waitlists and parents will drive great distances or even move to secure a good school for their children.
Looking into the faces of many teenagers in particular today, I think we should be troubled. Their eyes are dull, missing the sparkle of their younger childhood, their language can be angry, slothful indolent-and we have been conditioned to think that this is their natural state. How often do we see them playing? How often do we hear them laugh with true joy? It is as though they were under some dark enchantment, chained up, forgotten within themselves. Wordsworth’s prophetic verse, “The child is the father of the man” should give us pause. Meanwhile, we feel a tremendous pressure and anxiety attached to our child’s performance, and we seek to be responsible to these tugging, nagging incessant needs.
In the face of all this concern, over the last ten years there has been a growing nostalgia for what is regularly described as a more traditional, liberal arts classical education. What does it mean to have a Catholic Classical Education? Perhaps more importantly: What is it that we truly want for our children?
We can probably identify many things that we do not want, and perhaps several things that we do want. At times I think parents are very frustrated. What we want is so simple, it should be so straightforward. But are our thoughts truly organized around a whole unified vision? What can a Catholic classical education be? Is it simply an education in which you read good books, have some seminars and there is a trustworthy presentation of the Catechism? This may be better than most situations, after all.
My purpose is to speak with you today about a catholic classical liberal arts education – what that means and why it is significant. But before we can do that, I think we need to stop and make an observation about words:
We use words carelessly.
What do I mean by that? I mean that we frequently use words assuming that we know what they mean, and we further assume that our “assumption of meaning” is identical to everyone else’s. For example, I have told you that I want to speak with you about the significance of a “catholic classical liberal arts education.” Let us take the most simple word: education. Most everyone in this room I imagine has spent a significant portion of their lives in education. But I am willing to bet that if I were to ask most folks in our society “What is meant by the word ‘education’”? they would struggle to give me a quick, concise and confident answer. This would be fine, except we do not even acknowledge this fact. We are ignorant unknowingly – that is to say that as a society we are careless, thoughtless.
Words are strange. Like stones in a stream, they become smoothed out and unobtrusive in our minds and in society’s usage. Our words need to be sharpened, cracked open, remembered, problematized, dug up, given their due weight and significance. That words are taken for granted invariably means that thoughts are taken for granted, unexplored, unconsidered, un-reflected upon – a settled, satisfied riverbed. And what is the cost? When thoughts are un-reflected upon, the result is despotism, tyranny, slavery. “Classical Liberal Arts,” “Great Books,” “Socratic Catholic Education” – we use these terms readily and yet, is it possible that we are guilty of the same thing as our society? Do we use these words thoughtlessly?
Let’s get back to education. In my experience, very few people ever seem to ask the question, “What is education, and what does it mean, on a deeper level, to educate?” Everyone is discussing and haggling over the best most effective educational techniques or pedagogies. But how can we speak to these without some confidence that we understand what education is and what its purpose is?
Perhaps we assume that we know. “Education” is an ordinary word, after all. Surely we know its meaning. And yet the common usage of this word today is in sharp contrast to its traditional significance. What does society’s usage of the word “education” suggest about its meaning? I think it often means for us a process in which students are filled with some sort of information or knowledge that will allow them to specialize in some field. The teacher has a specialized body of knowledge and it is her job to fix that information into the minds of the student, so as to foster technical skill.
The Greek term for this sort of knowing is techne – and many have pointed out the rising dominance of techne in the Modern world. Now of course, it should go without saying that there is nothing wrong with techne, technical knowing, in and of itself, but traditionally, in the Ancient and Medieval mind, it is seen as the lowest and most subservient type of knowing and engaging with the world. As Ratzinger points out, this dominance of techne means “…the dominance of the fact …Techne has become the real potential and obligation of man. What was previously at the bottom is now on top.” Not only do we see the purpose and content of education to be highly technical, the whole way in which we as a society conceive of the educational process is largely technological.
This is demonstrated by the technological vocabulary that is used regarding education: we speak of downloading, programming, bandwidth and even in creative moments, uploading and a knowledge matrix. Our educational strategies tend to presuppose that the student is a sort of factory, a machine or computer. We seek ways to most efficiently influence “input” so that we can control quality “output.” In other words, we have an industrial view of education, and this implies an industrial anthropology, an industrial understanding of what it is to be a human person.
At the same time, students are told that it is their destiny to “create themselves” – in fact, there is a moral (and I should add commercial) imperative on teenagers to invent themselves. Combined with the pressure of a techne gravitated education, what we have here is a striking contradiction that is imposed on children: on the one hand, they are told they are now free to “create themselves,” and on the other hand they feel pressure to bind themselves to specialization as early as possible.
Now many Catholic educators may feel absolved from these assumed meanings and implications of modern education. But is this honest? How many Catholic schools have nearly identical content as public schools? Are not the pedagogical practices that are used by most Catholic teachers identical to conventional educators, with all of the same anthropological presuppositions?
I am not claiming this is intentional. What I am claiming is that this account is (1) not thought through by us (it is assumed), and (2) at odds with the tradition of western education. Although we as a society have not thought through our assumed meaning of education, there is a careful and calculated logic behind it, one which is intentionally at odds with the Tradition, from Francis Bacon’s dictum “Knowledge is Power,” to Descartes, Hume, through Rousseau, the agendas of Capitalism, Socialism, Marxism, and post-modernity each by turn and the behaviorist theory of perception and knowledge. But as a society, we have not done any of that thinking ourselves. We vaguely, blindly assume this meaning and that this language reflects reality.
The issue is of paramount importance because it has tremendous implications on what is of most vital significance: our children. So let’s crack open the word “education,” starting with an etymology. The Latin word educatus signifies “childrearing” – the bringing up of the young. What does this fundamentally mean? Without a careful attention to these words, rearing, bringing up, we may assume that this traditional meaning is perfectly compatible with our conventional account. But the difference resides in how much broader, how much less specialized the traditional meaning of education is in comparison to “technical knowledge acquisition.” The meaning is quite simple: to raise a young person, to help them come into their own, their personhood.
The central question then, which must be posed in education, is what does it mean to raise a human person? And therefore, what is a human person? What is the purpose, the end, telos, of human life? I think it worthwhile to note that these questions match the personal inquiry deep in the heart of every teenager: Who am I? What are human excellences that we should strive to attain in this education? That a child comes into their own as a person means that they have a purpose, not created by themselves, but built into the substructure of their humanity, their nature.Their task is to embark on the adventure of coming to know this purpose, coming to realize it and to receive it as the greatest of gifts, and which they can reciprocate in the light of a true freedom – a freedom for and celebration in the goodness of their being, and the great gift of life.
To my mind, the most important essay written on education is Robert Spaemann’s Education as an Introduction to Reality. The title really says it all: Education is meant to introduce a student, a child, to reality. Again, this may seem uncontroversial, but it is emphatically different than our assumed meaning of knowledge acquisition. Let us consider the contrast. If education is technical knowledge mastery, our first and foremost priority is technical knowing. The student is put in a posture of domination – their job is to master the facts. Questions about the purpose of life, beauty or most any question starting with a “why” are irritating to a teacher, because they are distractions from the purpose. The why doesn’t matter – it can’t be known or is already decided. Our purpose is within the box, never the box itself. The standard for fact assimilation is correctness. Do the recited facts correspond with the textbook? Yes? Check. Move on, new concept 45.2, three examples, one diagram, solve 50 times. Correct? Move on.
If education is an introduction to reality, first and foremost, the student is placed in a posture of humility. The teacher’s job is to shatter any prejudice in the child, to force them to consider carefully the world, which they receive in the structure of a gift, as a whole – to see the language of reality, to be convicted by it, to ask why. To be filled with a deep awe before the majesty and mystery of it all, to rejoice in it, to play within it, to be brought into the greatest human inquiries. What is Justice? What is the place of mercy and love in a society? What is it to be a man? A woman? These questions allow fertile ground for considering and striving for human excellence, that is, virtue.
Again, remember that the industrial form of education has failed, even by its own standards. The reason? It is not realistic. Its anthropological presuppositions are false. Human persons aren’t machines. Learning does not work that way, and therefore the results will be impoverished. Students who receive an education that acknowledges their humanity will perform at a much higher level even by industrial standards. Great schools that do not teach to the test will almost always have superior testing results to cookie cutter test prep programs. Why?
Let me give you an example. A program that teaches to the test will take, lets say mathematics, and have students memorize correct computational procedures that correspond to common test problems so that that they can plug and solve fluently on the test. However, the student in the program never acquires mathematical understanding. They never see the deeper language of mathematics. They don’t actually understand the problems that are being posed to them, because they have merely memorized a correct computational reaction.
This two-dimensional training means that students are extremely vulnerable on a standardized test. They are easily confused by questions which trick them into using the wrong computational tool. A student who is fluent in mathematical language can see the problem posed to them for what it actually is, and they address it directly. Students who enjoy a human education do better even by industrial standards, but they do so accidentally. Their true purpose runs in deeper channels.
The industrial anthropology we described before obviously cannot do justice to the intellectual realm. Knowledge itself must mean more than to have assimilated the isolated facts. To know a thing…what does this mean? I know my home, I know my wife, I know my children, I know my father – but these are rich, deeply mysterious moments that are not reducible to a constellation of factoids. Certainly knowledge is a significant and fundamental moment in the education of the intellect – but what of understanding? What of wisdom?
Originally, the mind is not conceived as an input/output data processing mechanism. Rather, the mind is a dynamic intellectual movement. The cultivation of the mind is an essential part of this educational process, but this has a different sense from what seems to be the common idea. Intellectual development does require memorization and factual knowledge, but these are for the sake of dialectic.
The mind is not a box that we should fill with static data. It has a verbal quality. It must be in dialogue, investigating, inquiring and reflecting in awe. Plutarch tells us that “A mind is not a container to be filled but a fire to be kindled.” Furthermore, education understood as an introduction to reality, as child rearing, suggests that the intellectual realm alone is not the essence of education.
I could spend a lot of time speaking about physical education, more time than we have tonight. But suffice it to say that PE is one of the most important courses a student can take. Why? Because it teaches a students what it is to be human, as an incarnate embodied being. Education is assumed to be an entirely intellectual concern, but to introduce a child to reality must also imply instilling in the student: heart, courage, love, humility, prudence, perseverance. Education in this sense encompasses the whole person, and I would argue, most fundamentally the moral character and imagination. Information alone cannot give you these things. It cannot, in the true sense, even render mere knowledge – but it certainly cannot teach you moral virtue. A true education is a moral education – it instructs and informs manners, customs, ways of treating others, and culminates in an education of love, an education of the heart. Spaemann says, “’Education for reality’ is therefore just another word for ‘educating for love.’” I mean this in two senses:
- Educating (forming) an active love
- Educating (forming) the objects of love of our children. What are they falling in love with?
Knowledge is of course an essential ingredient to cultivating persons, but it is truly only one among many – or better yet, one face of the entire prism, an undetachable moment in the whole of the person. And so we begin to see that education implies a complete formation, metamorphosis – preparing the student to re-form, to be born, blossom out of their cave, their cocoon, and into reality. How does this formation occur?
Education occurs, can only ever occur, within the context of a culture. The term ‘culture’ was designated by Cicero, when he used the agricultural term of cultivation as a metaphor for the education of the soul. This cultivation of souls, the cultura animi, refers to an alignment of souls and of the heart to the greatest of human excellences. Augustine continues this theme saying: “The teacher is as the husbandman to the tree.” This metaphor of education as being realized by a cultivation reveals a few important points regarding the educational process. A tree or plant has a nature and purpose. To cultivate the tree means that the farmer fosters it, allows it to come into its own, to realize itself. This immediately precludes any sort of self-creation or invention. It also stresses the entirety of the educational process and the great responsibility of the educator.
Culture as a fundamentally educational word also implies the importance of community in the educational process. When we go back to our basic educational questions, what is it to be a person? What is the purpose of the human person? An adequate response to these queries must affirm man’s communal nature. “Man is a political animal,” Aristotle tells us. And this means that the moment that is most critical in a child’s education, formation is not the content or the pedagogy but the persons, the teacher, the community the faculty.
Schools tend to hire teachers prioritizing content expertise and certification, not whether these are men and women who we want as models for our children. They do not take into account that the greatest lesson that a student will ever learn resides in the personhood of her teacher. Content and pedagogy are of critical importance, but they are informed by the deeper realities of culture, are there to serve the cultivation. This alignment through culture does not occur in one lesson given to the student in one classroom – but within the entire context, the entire frame, the adventure of them belonging to a larger community, learning how to be members of this community and, within the context of that community, learning to love. Every moment, every instant then is educational.
Education, formation, does not occur simply in the classroom – perhaps even more important educational moments occur in the hallways, at lunch, before school, after school, on the athletic field, during a seminar break – laughing with peers and their teacher. The beauty of the physical space of the school is deeply educational. What must an authentic education give to students? Good, wholesome soil.
Why are our schools failing? Is their content problematic? Certainly. But the greater problem, the cause beneath the symptoms, is that they assume a culture, an anthropology, and therefore a language, that does violence to the hearts, minds and even bodies of our young. The context of education, the culture, is rarely taken into account. The fact that this is not obvious to most educators does not change the significance that a culture or mal-culture has on a child. The soil is always there, whether we are attentive to it or not. If we feed our children poison, we should not scratch our heads and wonder why they languish. If we feed our children good food, they will be nourished.
We have spent some time now considering the word “education” and how it should be thought of if we reject the industrial model. What about the words “liberal arts” or “classical”? Given what we have said before, what form, what structure should an anthropologically sound education take? It is often the case that we use the term “classical” or even “liberal arts” as if these are a model, an alternative to “STEM.” Yet, these terms are meant to signify a human education. In other words, without a doubt, this is the sort of education that you want if you’re human. The truly human education is the liberal arts education.
The term “liberal arts,” however, does give further articulation and definition for what the purpose of education is and grants us some clues as to how we might best achieve that purpose. “Liberal arts” is a term that has clearly been watered down and evacuated of meaning. Any school that has semi-decent literature on its reading list styles itself as being “Liberal arts.”
“Liberal arts” – What does this mean?It does not refer to a socially progressive art colony. “Liberal” from liberate, means freedom. So when we say that we are a liberal arts academy, it means we are in the business of practicing the arts of freedom.
Now there are two ways of thinking about this. Firstly, the course of study of a liberal arts academy is the education that the free men and women of the west have enjoyed since classical times. But there is another sense to what we mean by practicing the arts of freedom:
That what we learn in this approach is meant to cultivate freedom within us.
What a tremendous idea: that through reading great texts, discussing these texts with one another, exploring a Euclidean prop or sketching a still life that you become more truly free. But what does this mean? Freedom in what sense? What risk of slavery do we face if we do not learn these arts?
In Book VII of the Republic, Socrates describes his famous cave allegory, meant specifically to address the process of education. Plato’s cave allegory depicts the origin of humanity, unformed, uneducated: that they are secretly enslaved without even realizing it. They lie chained to the back of a cave and believe that the shadows, ash and dust that they can see is all of reality, with no knowledge or belief in the sunlit world above.
They must be torn from the shadow world and forced to face the world of freedom to recognize the Good. Surely these persons enslaved and chained in the earth, who think that what is real are the shadows they can most easily perceive, must assume that they themselves are only shadows as well. How can we resist, revolt, turn away from the shadow world? Socrates tells us it requires pain, being torn out of where we are so comfortable. How do the liberal arts do this? How do they liberate us?
Let us start at the beginning. The students walk into the classroom. What is their demeanor? How do they bear themselves? What habits of mind and body are we hoping to form within them? What sorts of things should they study? What do we want them to fall in love with?
First and foremost, we want the student to be open, receptive, and humble. The first thing a student is asked to do when they enter a true classical liberal arts classroom is to relinquish all of their prejudice. We will ask them to approach the class and the reality being studied, whether it is a text, or a geometric proof or the behavior of a beetle, with a receptive and humble attitude. This humility unshackles the reality for the student and in turn frees the student to see the reality as it is. The reality is infinitely more interesting than the student’s prejudice and it fills the student with awe. This will immediately allow a deeper sort of learning than factual assimilation or technical mastery to occur. Why? Because direct and humble encounters with realities do not provoke responses of assimilation or mastery – they inspire awe and a deep longing desire to know more intimately and with greater depth.
But humility is essential in regards to far more than the subject matter of the class. The student must be humble as a member of the community of the classroom. It does not take long to discover that the full richness of whatever we are learning, whether in a science lab, Crime and Punishment, or a discussion on functions, that I, by myself, encounter only part of the full spectrum of that reality. Not only am I humble before that reality, but I must be humble before others in the class as I realize that they, more often than not, see many things that I do not.
For this reason I must listen, and then, of great importance as well, I must be courageous and generous with my own thoughts. It is important to note that this generosity relinquishes ego. Rather, it is a celebration of inquiry in which all of the students contribute so that the community, as one whole, deepens in its understanding and thoughtfulness. Then, as if accidentally, each individual student is donated the full wealth of insight that belongs to the community, and thus each person is able to grow and be formed in more profound ways than most imagine possible.
Of course, this sort of learning through dialectic, discussion – that is, the Socratic approach – is a trademark of the liberal arts classical tradition. It sets the stage for students to be active participants in their own formation, through the mode of an ever deepening inquiry.
For Plato, education through conversation allows us to stir up memories of the highest things. This sort of memory or recollection is the heart and soul of education. Recollection in this sense is not necessarily a historical memory but an ontological memory: that is a remembrance of Goodness, of Truth, of Beauty. The Greek word he uses for recollection is anamnesis, which can also mean a memorial sacrifice. Socrates tells us that anamnesis is stirred up through hints in the world of the highest things, like small tokens left behind by one’s beloved. Thus, we see what were once for us merely everyday things and have depth, a renewed fragility and greatness. Finally, this inquiry directs us to the transcendentals, to the Good, The True, the Beautiful.
And so we see the liberal arts approach is a freeing up through ontological recollection, anamnesis. It is also a freeing up for. A freeing up for the Beloved, which here means freedom for happiness, freedom for goodness.
So what does any of this have to do with a Catholic education? The first, most obvious point is that distinguishing “Catholic” from “liberal arts and classical” is to divide things that have always organically belonged to one another since the time of St. Paul. A true Liberal Arts Education implies studying the greatest texts, thoughts and questions of the Western Tradition – that is, the Judeo-Christian Tradition. It is precisely within this tradition that the Liberal Arts Classical academy was formed, and it is within this sort of Academy that students are given the richest and most penetrating path into the wealth of Christian thought.
But I think we must delve more deeply than this simple historical truth. What is the relationship between a liberal arts education and Catholicism? The fundamental educational questions that we have brought to the forefront of our inquiry tonight are now renewed:
What is it to be a human person?
What is the purpose of human life?
And the particular personal wonderment, “Who am I?”
These questions resurface as we ask what a Catholic education should look like. Our response to these primordial educational questions is now able to reach its very deepest and furthest expression. Here the freeing up for the Good, now takes on a personal character. Freeing up for the Beloved is no longer a metaphor for something impersonal as it might be for Plato. Freeing up for the Beloved is a freeing up for Christ.
Perhaps one of the first issues we should address when we speak of a Catholic education is that of belief. Surely the question of belief is most important to us as Catholic parents. That a Catholic school has the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, is surely the most significant moment in fostering belief within our children. But what of the education itself? We stress or even aspire to an education that includes accurate factual knowledge of the Catechism and naturally this is good, but does our education participate, involve itself directly in belief? Is it even possible to do this, or does belief just sort of happen on its own?
Unfortunately, belief, more often than not, seems to refuse to just happen on its own. I will not here dwell on the rate of young Catholics who leave the Church shortly after they leave home but it is shattering. I can tell you that the number of my own friends and acquaintances from my Catholic education who have left the Church is heartbreaking to me. The simple truth is that an industrial (that is a techne, fact-based) form of education alone, whether it bears the title “Catholic” or not, cannot foster belief. Benedict XVI tells us:
Belief in the sense intended by the Creed is not an incomplete kind of knowledge, an opinion that subsequently can or should be converted into practical knowledge. It is much rather an essentially different kind of intellectual attitude, which stands alongside practical knowledge as something independent and particular and cannot be traced back to it or produced from it.
What is the nature of this separate intellectual attitude, and how is it fostered? Benedict tells us:
…what belief means: the trustful placing of myself on a ground that upholds me, not because I have made it and checked it by my own calculations but, precisely because I have not made it and cannot check it.
I hope it is obvious to you that this description closely corresponds to the very intellectual attitude that we want to instill in our children in a true liberal arts education. What a liberal arts education ought to do is cultivate fertile soil for belief by placing children in a posture that is inherently open, humble, receptive: inviting grace in.
Theological truth crowns the great truths of the liberal arts tradition, informing the personal incarnate nature of the true the good and the beautiful. And yet, in a simultaneous counter-movement, the things and objects of a Liberal Arts education give something precious to Catholicism: they draw our attention to the quiet language of the Good, who we can now name, God, throughout the world and the art of man. Now what we have studied, whether in Dante, Aquinas or Augustine or, in a different sense, in Plato, Aristotle or Sophocles takes on a sacramental character.
What do I mean by sacramental character? As we know, a sacrament (and here I do not mean a sacrament of Christian dispensation) is a symbol of sacred things. As moderns we have a weak notion (iconoclastic) of what a symbol is. What does the word symbol mean?
The origin of the word “symbol” stems from symballein, which means literally “to come together.” As Ratzinger describes:
The background to the word’s etymology is in ancient usage: two corresponding halves of a ring, a staff, or a tablet were used as tokens of identity for guests, messengers, or partners to a treaty. Possession of the corresponding piece entitled the holder to receive a thing or simply to hospitality. A symbolum is something that points to its complementary other half and thus creates mutual recognition and unity. It is the expression and means of unity.
So to say that the objects of a liberal arts course of study have a sacramental character is to claim that they are hints, clues – symbols of what is highest. They cause us to remember, to recollect. A careful thoughtfulness of their nature will reveal a corresponding fittingness of something greater and will fill us with a great longing for God. As we study a trout, a finch or cow, humbly consider their pied beauty, we are led to acclaim: Glory be to God for dappled things!
A Catholic liberal arts education, then, means a recovery of eyes for the beautiful, for the damascened pattern of Being that is the very language of God. The Dominican writer Sertillanges described just such a longing as residing in the intellectual act which truly participates in the divine. He refers to it as a response to the perfume of the wine cellar:
The wine-cellar…in an allusion to the Canticle of Canticles and to the commentary of St. Bernard, is the secret dwelling place of truth, of which from afar the perfume attracts the spouse, that is the fervent soul; it is the abode of inspiration, the radiant center of enthusiasm, of genius, of invention, of ardent search; it is the scene of the activity of the mind and its wise delight.
What should occur then, in a truly Catholic liberal arts education is analogous to the miracle of turning water into wine: the everyday is brought beyond itself and made fit for the wedding feast, and, in witnessing this transformation, our children discover that they are the guests of honor.
In conclusion, my counsel to parents is to be bold. Shed any complacency, the conventional thrumming fatalism. Find your ground, your bit of earth, and hold it, cultivate it.
Seek the deepest possible formation for your children: an education of song, dance, battles of poetry and of footraces, the reading of ancient scripts – studying the stars and the deepest mines of the earth, peering at icons, oiled canvases, measuring a path across the sea and the risk of drift from a settled course.
In the end, education must be humble. Children will continue on the road which goes ever on and on. They will make mistakes, and they will encounter darkness in the valley of temporal life. But if we can give them a deeper recollection, deeper memories, bring to the seat of their hearts’ surface the longing, which is already there within them – but now give it a name, a face – they will carry with them those sacraments, the perfume of the wine cellar. Then we may believe and hope that this is enough to carry them home.