March 6, 2015

As many of you know, I teach the 9th grade Ancient History course at The Academy. As the class works its way through the ancient world, we have studied many cultures. In our current studies of the Roman Republic and our reading of the Laws of the Twelve Tables, I am reminded of the importance of family in the ancient world.

In Ancient China, disobedience to one’s father was as grave a crime as to the state; in ancient Republican Rome, the same was true (with perhaps less zeal). As tribal peoples in the ancient world began to come together and live in cities, and as rule of law began to take hold over rule of force, the family unit became an integral way to maintain order and to pass down the values of one’s society. To be fair, such a system had its drawbacks too: class was virtually inescapable, order was maintained at the expense of liberty, and misogyny ruled the hearts and minds of peoples.

What has been left behind is patriarchal order: obedience as a tool for control. But what has been gained, I venture, is a sense of belonging, of support, of need. I celebrate that the idea of family has grown. The Academy community is a family and, although we do not share the same level of intimacy as many nuclear families do, we do share a similar measure of care and support.

As Spring Break makes its way into your calendars and you step away from our Academy family for two weeks, we all wish your nuclear family a restful, rejuvenating time filled with laughter, joy, and sleep. We hope that the coming of spring enlivens your spirits!

And when we return together in two weeks, we’ll be happy to reconvene as our Academy family.

Dr. Brian Bloomfield
Head of School, Academy at Charlemont